Romans 4:10

10 How then was it reckoned to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised.

Romans 4:10 Meaning and Commentary

Romans 4:10

How was it then reckoned?
&c.] The Arabic version adds, "and when"; and the Ethiopic version reads it, "when was Abraham justified?" expressing the sense, not the words of the original text, with which agree the following questions:

when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision?
that is, was he justified, or his faith reckoned to him for righteousness, when he was a circumcised, or an uncircumcised person?

not in circumcision;
or when he was circumcised; for when it was said of him, that "he believed in the Lord", and "he counted it to him for righteousness", ( Genesis 15:6 ) , he was then uncircumcised, and remained so many years after: for this was before the birth of Ishmael, and Ishmael was "thirteen" years of age when he and his father Abraham were circumcised; so that it must be "fourteen" years, or thereabout, before his circumcision, that this declaration of his being a justified person was made; wherefore the apostle rightly adds,

but in uncircumcision;
or whilst an uncircumcised person: hence it clearly appears that circumcision could not be the cause of his justification, since it followed it; and if Abraham when uncircumcised was a justified person, as it is certain he was, why may not uncircumcised Gentiles be justified also? and especially when it is observed, that the covenant made with Abraham when uncircumcised, included the Gentiles; see ( Genesis 12:3 ) ( 17:4-6 ) .

Romans 4:10 In-Context

8 blessed is the one against whom the Lord will not reckon sin."
9 Is this blessedness, then, pronounced only on the circumcised, or also on the uncircumcised? We say, "Faith was reckoned to Abraham as righteousness."
10 How then was it reckoned to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised.
11 He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the ancestor of all who believe without being circumcised and who thus have righteousness reckoned to them,
12 and likewise the ancestor of the circumcised who are not only circumcised but who also follow the example of the faith that our ancestor Abraham had before he was circumcised.