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Romans 4:1–5

Justification by Faith Evidenced in Old Testament

1 What then shall we say that Abraham, 1our forefather aaccording to the flesh, has found?

2 For if Abraham was justified 1by works, he has something to boast about, but anot 2before God.

3 For what does the Scripture say? “aAbraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

4 Now to the one who aworks, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due.

5 But to the one who does not work, but abelieves in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness,

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Romans 4:1–5 — The New International Version (NIV)

What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter? If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness.

Romans 4:1–5 — English Standard Version (ESV)

What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness,

Romans 4:1–5 — King James Version (KJV 1900)

What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

Romans 4:1–5 — New Living Translation (NLT)

Abraham was, humanly speaking, the founder of our Jewish nation. What did he discover about being made right with God? If his good deeds had made him acceptable to God, he would have had something to boast about. But that was not God’s way. For the Scriptures tell us, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.”

When people work, their wages are not a gift, but something they have earned. But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners.

Romans 4:1–5 — The New King James Version (NKJV)

What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.

But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness,

Romans 4:1–5 — New Century Version (NCV)

So what can we say that Abraham, the father of our people, learned about faith? If Abraham was made right by the things he did, he had a reason to brag. But this is not God’s view, because the Scripture says, “Abraham believed God, and God accepted Abraham’s faith, and that faith made him right with God.”

When people work, their pay is not given as a gift, but as something earned. But people cannot do any work that will make them right with God. So they must trust in him, who makes even evil people right in his sight. Then God accepts their faith, and that makes them right with him.

Romans 4:1–5 — American Standard Version (ASV 1901)

What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, hath found according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not toward God. For what saith the scripture? And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh, the reward is not reckoned as of grace, but as of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is reckoned for righteousness.

Romans 4:1–5 — 1890 Darby Bible (DARBY)

What shall we say then that Abraham our father according to flesh has found? For if Abraham has been justified on the principle of works, he has whereof to boast: but not before God; for what does the scripture say? And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. Now to him that works the reward is not reckoned as of grace, but of debt: but to him who does not work, but believes on him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness.

Romans 4:1–5 — GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

What can we say that we have discovered about our ancestor Abraham? If Abraham had God’s approval because of something he did, he would have had a reason to brag. But he could not brag to God about it. What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and that faith was regarded by God to be his approval of Abraham.”

When people work, their pay is not regarded as a gift but something they have earned. However, when people don’t work but believe God, the one who approves ungodly people, their faith is regarded as God’s approval.

Romans 4:1–5 — The Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

What then can we say that Abraham, our physical ancestor, has found? If Abraham was justified by works, he has something to brag about—but not before God. For what does the Scripture say?

Abraham believed God,

and it was credited to him for righteousness.

Now to the one who works, pay is not considered as a gift, but as something owed. But to the one who does not work, but believes on Him who declares the ungodly to be righteous, his faith is credited for righteousness.

Romans 4:1–5 — The New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

What then are we to say was gained by Abraham, our ancestor according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.” Now to one who works, wages are not reckoned as a gift but as something due. But to one who without works trusts him who justifies the ungodly, such faith is reckoned as righteousness.

Romans 4:1–5 — The Lexham English Bible (LEB)

What then shall we say that Abraham, our ancestor according to the flesh, has found? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the scripture say? “And Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him for righteousness.” Now to the one who works, his pay is not credited according to grace, but according to his due. But to the one who does not work, but who believes in the one who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited for righteousness,

Romans 4:1–5 — New International Reader’s Version, 1998 ed. (NIrV) (NIrV)

What should we say about those things? What did our father Abraham discover about being right with God? Did he become right with God because of something he did? If so, he could brag about it. But he couldn’t brag to God. What do we find in Scripture? It says, “Abraham believed God. God accepted Abraham’s faith, and so his faith made him right with God.”

When a man works, his pay is not considered a gift. It is owed to him. But things are different with God. He makes evil people right with himself. If people trust in him, their faith is accepted even though they do not work. Their faith makes them right with God.