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Why Did Paul Say Salvation To The Jew First, And Also To The Greek?

Bible Questions
Why Did Paul Say Salvation To The Jew First, And Also To The Greek?

Why Did Paul Say Salvation To The Jew First, And Also To The Greek?

Why Did Paul Say Salvation To The Jew First, And Also To The Greek?

Name: Don
Question: Why did Paul say about salvation to the Jew first and then the gentile?

Name: Brandon T. Ward
Answer: Thank you for the question Don.

We are going to lay some groundwork, and bring it all together in the end. 

When we read Romans 1:16, it sounds like we have special treatment taking place, but nothing could be further from the truth as we will document. In order to properly understand this Scripture, we need to know, who are the Jews, and who are the Gentiles.

Today, when we hear the word Jew, we think about Judaism and those living in Israel. We are also told those Jews are God’s Chosen People, but that is not true as the linked study will document.

To The Jew First, And Also To The Greek

Please turn your Bible with me to Romans 1:16.

Romans 1:16
16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”

Do not read over that, it is a beautiful thing. Salvation is for everyone that believes in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Now Paul was speaking with respect to his people, in order of precedence. It was not a statement to make the Gentiles seem less important, and that point is greatly made by reading Romans 1-3.

We should understand Paul was an Israelite, a Hebrew from the Tribe of Benjamin which was of the House of Judah, (Philippians 3:4-5). The House of Judah consisted at one time of the Tribe of Judah and Benjamin which was located in the land of Judea, (around Jerusalem).

One became known as a Judean, translated Jew (Strong’s: G2453) if they were from the Tribe of Judah, or if they lived in the land of Judea which identified their national identity, not necessarily their genealogy.

God’s Chosen People With A Task

We have to remember what our Father said about the Israelites, all Twelve Tribes.

Deuteronomy 7:6
6 “For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.”

Naturally, the Israelites are the descendants of Adam, and we know the Bible is essentially about Adam and his family. God had chosen the Israelites to spread His Word to the world, and through this people would come the Redemer of the entire world, Jesus Christ, (Acts 10:36, Mark 16:15).

Due to this task, the Israelites are rewarded first for their efforts, however, they are also punished first (they know better) as we will learn, so it goes both ways.

Circumcision Is Of The Heart

We have to remember, salvation did not exist until Jesus Christ Became Our Passover Lamb, until He made His redeeming sacrifice. The sacrifices the Israelites performed in the Old Testament were simply a way for them to have conscience of their sin, their sacrifices never made them perfect, only the blood of Jesus Christ can cleanse us, only His Blood can wash away our sins, (Matthew 26:27-28, Revelation 1:5).

In Romans 2:25-27 Paul states if a Judean (Jew) is circumcised and breaks the law, his circumcision does not save him. He still broke the law, he is not above the law because his genealogy is traced to Judah.

Now if a Gentile who was uncircumcised “keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision?”

This simply means, even though the Gentile was not circumcised, if the Gentile kept the law, the Gentile is marked as good in our Father’s Book.

Romans 2:28
28 “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:”

The Gentile was not a Judean outwardly, meaning his genealogy, his family roots were not from the Tribe of Judah, but that did not matter as genealogies and circumcision are matters of the flesh.

Romans 2:29
29 “But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.”

Notice, the Gentile is not a Judean “outwardly”, meaning by ancestry, the Gentile is not an Israelite by genealogy, but he is inwardly (in the spirit) as the “outwardly” Gentile has now been adopted into the family of God.

Let us continue,

Romans 3:1
1What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision?”

Very plainly we are being told there is no advantage to being a Judean (Jew) by ancestry, further, circumcision also profits nothing. Essentially, circumcision which was a blood ritual was done away with when our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ shed His Blood for our sins, (Colossians 2:14).

The Jews Are No Better Than We

Romans 3:9-10
9 “What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;”

10 “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:”

Notice how Paul includes himself in with the Judeans (Jews), they were his audience.

Remember, Paul was from the Tribe of Benjamin, he was not from the Tribe of Judah. He was simply a Judean by national identity as the Tribe of Benjamin lived in the land of Judea, and the two Tribes made up the House of Judah. It was the Ten Northern Tribes that made up the House of Israel.

Understanding this, it is perfectly acceptable for Paul to include himself. After all, by genealogy, he was an Israelite, a Hebrew, and these verses truly apply to all Twelve Tribes, they simply were not a part of Paul’s audience as they had been scattered.

I simply point this out so you understand, there are some which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan”, (Revelation 2:9). Christ was telling us, there are imposter Jews in the world, even today.

Regardless, the main point here is the Judeans (Jews) are no better than the Gentiles.


“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”. – Romans 3:23

That makes it pretty clear, no favor is made for Jew or Gentile.

Every Man Is Judged By His Works

Instead, listen and understand how God Judges.

Romans 2:6
6 “Who will render to every man according to his deeds:”

How are we all judged?

By our deeds, by our works, (Revelation 2:23).

It does not matter what race you are, and always remember, “the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart”, (1 Samual 16:7). This is why circumcision is now of the heart as we learned earlier.

Romans 2:7
7 “To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:”

If we, all of us, regardless of our race patiently and continually seek to do good, we will inherit Eternal Life.

The Jew Is Punished First

Romans 2:8-10
8But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,”

9 “Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;”

10 “But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:”

Notice, the Judean (Jew) is punished first as they know better, they not only knew the Law, but they are supposed to share the Word with the world. This applies to all Israelites, remember, Paul was talking to an audience of Judeans, even more so, this applies to the Tribe of Levi (Levities) who always served as Priests.

Romans 2:11
11 “For there is no respect of persons with God.”

God does not respect or love one soul more than another due to their “outward” appearance, their race or color.

Rather, our Heavenly Father looks “inwardly” on our heart, and respects and loves those who love Him(Proverbs 8:17, Romans 8:28).

Thank you for reading, and we sincerely thank our readers for their questions, and God for providing this platform to share the Bible.


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  1. I meant to include the Greek definition from the Strong’s also…
    Gentiles: Strong’s Greek G1484 ἔθνος éthnos, eth’-nos; probably from G1486; a race (as of the same habit), i.e. a tribe; specially, a foreign (non-Jewish) one (usually, by implication, pagan):—Gentile, heathen, nation, people.

  2. Good day Tommy G…
    The following definition of Gentiles was taken from the Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance

    Gentiles: Strong’s H1471 – גּוֹי gôwy, go’-ee; rarely (shortened) גֹּי gôy; apparently from the same root as H1465 (in the sense of massing); a foreign nation; hence, a Gentile; also (figuratively) a troop of animals, or a flight of locusts:—Gentile, heathen, nation, people.

    Smith’s Bible Dictionary
    Gentiles: (nations). All the people who were not Jews were so called by them, being aliens from the worship, rites and privileges of Israel. The word was used contemptuously by them. In the New Testament it is used as equivalent to Greek. This use of the word seems to have arisen from the almost universal adaption of the Greek language.

    Shalom, in Christ Yeshua!

  3. Hello Brandon, good article and if you were ask your definition of Gentile how would you answer?

    • Tommy G. It all depends on the context of Scripture. I did some quick looking this morning in the Strong’s and Gentile or Gentiles appears as four different Strong’s words with their own meanings. I will put that below for you and everyone else (it may appear more than what I listed).

      Since you are asking me, and with what I know about Scripture.

      When I think of a Gentile or Gentile nation, I consider that to be a non-Christian or non-Christian nation. A “heathen nation”, a “heathen or pagan people” as Gentile in G1484 and G1471 explain, (Note Strong’s G1484: “usually by implication pagan“).

      I say that not only due to the Strong’s definition, but we have all been grafted into the same Branch.

      Galations 3:28
      There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

      In our Bible study, “Did We All Come From Adam And Eve?“, note the subsection Are We All Of One Blood. I point out there, Gentile is talking about a “race” of people, that race of people would be non-Israelite people.

      In this Bible question, that is really what we are talking about. Paul was basically saying, to the Israelite first, and then to the non-Israelite.

      Paul inspired by God wrote Galatians and Romans. So when we bring it all together, we see Paul really leaving race out of it. All the people are treated as one, God created all of us. He does not care if you are white, brown, purple or green. If He cared, He would not have created any of us like that. But He did, He loved it and loves us.

      Our take away from all of this is to remember the whole point of the Israelite race of people. They were a special and holy people to God because He had/has a mission for them (Deuteronomy 7:6). To share God’s Word with the world, (Acts 10:36, Mark 16:15). Today, that does not mean only an Israelite can share God’s Word thankfully, but all people who love and believe in our Lord Jesus Christ as “there is neither Jew nor Greek” for we “are all one in Christ Jesus”.

      Gentiles: G1484 – found in 87 verses
      Probably from G1486; a race (as of the same habit), that is, a tribe; specifically a foreign (non-Jewish) one (usually by implication pagan): – Gentile, heathen, nation, people.

      Gentiles: H1471 – found in 28 verses
      Apparently from the same root as H1465 (in the sense of massing); a foreign nation; hence a Gentile; also (figuratively) a troop of animals, or a flight of locusts: – Gentile, heathen, nation, people.

      Gentiles: G1672 found in 6 verses
      From G1671; a Hellen (Grecian) or inhabitant of Hellas; by extension a Greek speaking person, especially a non-Jew: – Gentile, Greek.

      Gentiles: H2800 found in 3 verses
      The same as H2799; Charosheth, a place in Palestine: – Harosheth.

      • Thanks Brandon and Eye, Our study group has been going over this subject and others that are close to it. Trying to get correct understanding of it as we move along in our study.

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