AHC G The Gifts and The Call of God Appendix - Hebrew Catholics

Association of

Hebrew Catholics

New Zealand Branch


A Hebrew Catholic Perspective

Romans 10: 14 ― 21

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(From: “The Epistle To The Romans”)
By N. P. Williams published as part of ―
“A New Commentary On Holy Scripture”,
S.P.C.K., London 1928

Note:       The commentator is using the Revised Version (R.V.) of the Bible, less commonly used today.    
                      At the conclusion of this article we attach the New American Bible rendition for comparison.


         The first thirteen verses of this chapter have exhibited Israel’s
rejection as due to Israel’s own fault, in ignoring God’s revealed way
of salvation and insisting on pursuing its own way. The last eight verses
are a piece of highly compressed dialogue with the Jewish objector,
who endeavours to find excuses for his nation. As before, an extended
paraphrase will be the best commentary (missing logical connections
are supplied in italics:

 Verses 14 ― 21

14.      JEWISH OBJECTOR: “Calling upon the name of” (that is,
offering worship: and prayer to) Jesus implies Faith in Him: Faith
implies having heard a message about Him: the hearing of a
message implies the existence of an authoritative body of preachers,

15a.     enjoying a divine mission. And no such divinely commissioned
body exists: therefore the Jews have not had a fair chance of hearing
about the Messiahship and

           Resurrection of Jesus, and cannot reasonably be censured for
not “calling upon his name.”

           PAUL: Your last statement is quite divorced from fact. There
is a divinely commissioned body of preachers (namely, the Christian
Apostles, prophets, and teachers),

15b.     as Isaiah foretold, in the words “How beautiful are the feet,”
etc. (Isaiah 52: 7)

16a.     JEWISH OBJECTOR: Well, after all, it is the case that not all
Israelites have yielded allegiance to the message of salvation: and
this suggests that there must have been some flaw in the
arrangements for conveying the message to them.

           ST. PAUL: It suggests nothing of the kind. Israel is quite
perverse enough to reject a divine message which has been clearly
laid before it.

16b.     Witness, again, the words of Isaiah, who complains of a
similar perversity in his own day: “Lord, who hath had faith in the
hearing of us?” (Isaiah 53 1).

17.       quite admit that this quotation supports your preliminary
contention, that “Faith,” implies “hearing,” and “hearing” presupposes
the existence of an authoritative message about the Messiah.

18.       But when you go on to suggest, perhaps Israel has not heard,
you are saying what is patently absurd: for the divine message and
the authoritative body of preachers actually exist, and the preachers
have by this time carried the message all over the world, as the
Psalmist predicted: “Their sound went out into all the earth,” etc.

19.       I understand you to suggest again, perhaps, owing to some
defect in the presentation of the message, Israel did not properly
understand it. But that is even “more absurd — the idea that Israel,
the chosen people, which for centuries had enjoyed the benefits of
divine revelation, could not have “understood” a further revelation!
At any rate, thousands of Gentiles understood well enough. And this,
too — the wilful blindness of the Jews and the spiritual receptivity of
Gentiles, who might have been expected to be “void of understanding”
in the things of God — was predicted in the Scriptures: at the very
beginning of the nation’s history Moses warns it, “I will provoke you
to jealousy . . .” etc. (Deuteronomy 32: 21):

20.       and, at a later date, Isaiah puts the same point in even more
daring language, saying with regard to the Gentiles, “I was found of
them that sought me not . . .” etc. (65: 2), with regard to Israel, “All
the day long ….. etc.” (65: 2).


       Conclusion, implied but not expressed: “All your shifts are
  useless; Israel’s rejection is due to its own inexcusable perversity“.

(In the study of The Gifts and the Call of God,” readers will
become aware of St. Paul’s
upbraiding of his Gentile listeners
when it is their turn to be
addressed. Both Jews and Gentiles
listened to him with bated
breath and took his comments very


Romans 10: 14 — 21


14    6 But how can they call on him in whom they have not believed?
        And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard?
        And how can they hear without someone to preach?

15    And how can people preach unless they are sent? As it is written,
       “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring (the) good news!” 7

16    But not everyone has heeded the good news; for Isaiah says, “Lord,
        who has believed what was heard from us?”

17    Thus faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes
        through the word of Christ.

18    But I ask, did they not hear? Certainly they did; for “Their voice has
        gone forth to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.”

19    But I ask, did not Israel understand? First Moses says: “I will make
        you jealous of those who are not a nation; with a senseless nation
        I will make you angry.”

20    Then Isaiah speaks boldly and says: “I was found (by) those who
        were not seeking me; I revealed myself to those who were not
        asking for me.”

21    But regarding Israel he says, “All day long I stretched out my hands
        to a disobedient and contentious people.”

6 [14-21] The gospel has been sufficiently proclaimed to Israel, and Israel has adequately understood God’s plan for the messianic age, which would see the gospel brought to the uttermost parts of the earth. As often in the past, Israel has not accepted the prophetic message; cf ⇒ Acts 7:51-53.

7 [15] How beautiful are the feet of those who bring [the] good news: in Semitic fashion, the parts of the body that bring the messenger with welcome news are praised; cf ⇒ Luke 11:27.

Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition (c)
2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington D.C. and are
used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the
New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from
the copyright owner.



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