My Kinsmen Are Accursed!! (Romans 9:1-5)

The image to the left provides you with a structural analysis of Romans 9:1-5, and should facilitate ease of reference for the sake of this post.

I want to begin by providing the Greek text of the passage as it appears in the NA27 and then my translation of the text:

Ἀλήθειαν λέγω ἐν Χριστῷ, οὐ ψεύδομαι, συμμαρτυρούσης μοι τῆς συνειδήσεώς μου ἐν πνεύματι ἁγίῳ, 2 ὅτι λύπη μοί ἐστιν μεγάλη καὶ ἀδιάλειπτος ὀδύνη τῇ καρδίᾳ μου. 3 ηὐχόμην γὰρ ἀνάθεμα εἶναι αὐτὸς ἐγὼ ἀπὸ τοῦ Χριστοῦ ὑπὲρ τῶν ἀδελφῶν μου τῶν συγγενῶν μου κατὰ σάρκα, 4 οἵτινές εἰσιν Ἰσραηλῖται, ὧν ἡ υἱοθεσία καὶ ἡ δόξα καὶ αἱ διαθῆκαι καὶ ἡ νομοθεσία καὶ ἡ λατρεία καὶ αἱ ἐπαγγελίαι, 5 ὧν οἱ πατέρες καὶ ἐξ ὧν ὁ Χριστὸς τὸ κατὰ σάρκα, ὁ ὢν ἐπὶ πάντων θεὸς εὐλογητὸς εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας, ἀμήν.
I speak the truth in Christ. I do not lie, my conscience bearing witness with me in the Holy Spirit 2 that I have great grief and unceasing pain in my heart. 3 For I myself could wish to be damned, separated from Christ on behalf of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh, 4 who are Israelites; whose are the sonship, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of worship, and the promises 5 whose are the fathers and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.

In verses 1-3, Paul asserts his pain over the predicament of his people. In 9:4-5 he describes the privileges of his “kinsmen according to the flesh.” It is the glorious privileges of vv. 4-5 that stand in such stark contrast to the pain and sorrow of v. 3, and that account for the intensity of Paul’s pain. It is in all respects this contrast between the privileges of Paul’s kinsmen in vv. 4-5 and their predicament in v. 3 that seems to imply that God’s word has fallen. So what are these privileges, and what is this predicament?

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