Friday Files: On Morison’s Commentary on Romans 9

, posted by Godismyjudge

In James Morison’s commentary on Romans 9, he makes the three helpful points about God’s promise that the greater shall serve the lesser. First, it was not said of Rebecca but to her, second it should be translated greater/lesser, not elder/younger, and third it’s a prediction. He also makes the point that Jacob and Esau should be considered as Nations, not individuals and that God’s hating Esau means He loved and blessed Esau less than Jacob. Morison understands the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart to mean giving Pharaoh boldness to do what he already wanted to do by removing Pharaoh’s fear of the consequences.

Here’s Morison’s high level summary of the Romans 9-11:

“In chapter ix. the apostle opens his subject in a profoundly pathetic spirit. He shows, with great power of demonstration, that God has the sovereign right to confer His messianic favors upon whomsoever He pleases. God has liberty in relation to men. His hands were not tied by Judaism. As regards human organs of Divine communications, He was not restricted to the Hebrews. Far less was it the case that the Hebrews, when disloyal to the aim and ideal of their messianic relationship, and its peculiar institutions, could yet be entitled to special spiritual prerogatives, and a monopoly of the very highest messianic favors.

In chapter x. the apostle shows that the greatest messianic blessings are still, though not monopolisingly, available to his countrymen. They are as really available to them as to the most favored of the Gentiles.

In chapter xi. the apostle shows that the time is on the wing when his recreant countrymen will reconsider their ways, and their duty to the Saviour and to God. They will be grafted in again, and, shooting aloft, will take the lead among their fellow men. So that if their fall and dispersion have been over-ruled to the enrichment of the world, and their loss has contributed to the gain of the Gentiles, how much more shall the fullness of both Jews and Gentiles be for the elevation and enduring weal of the human race at large ! There will indeed be no necessitation of will, and no dislocation of the broad foundation-stones of moral accountability and character. But the power of the most powerful of motives will be unceasingly and increasingly wielded on and for all men everywhere, and by God Himself, until the earth be a new- earth and a clean earth, fit palace and home for the now exalted Redeemer and all His loyal people.”

Morison’s strengths are knowledge of Greek and Hebrew, knowledge of the literature on Romans 9 and sufficient detail (the work is 281 pages). After explaining chapter nine, he discusses various methods of interpretation Romans 9 including allegorical, national and historical.