All of Romans 9 seems to be a single question ‘who now is Israel’ with the single answer ‘those who God has chosen.’ This is to explain the systematic assertion that though Jesus, and His new covenant, those individuals chosen to make up spiritual Israel, are no longer confided to physical Israel but are found in both Jews and Gentiles, united by faith in Christ.
This chapter epilogues the admonishment to, explanation of, and apologetic for, the developing Church shown in chapters 1-8, and it also prologues the explanation of Israel’s Remnant and Gentiles ‘grafting-in’ found in chapters 10-11. This allows a transition back to the place of the Church in chapters 12-16.
This single question is shown by a developing three-fold questioning, to address the same overarching question several ways (as has been posed by the Church in Rome), and provide several angles of answer to the question. Each sub-question builds on the last and develops the point further, leaving the reader with -no doubt- as to the answer of the question, and their subsequent response to the subject and nature of the question. With that in mind:
vv. 1-5 – Introduction, setting the apologetic and pastoral tone for Paul’s difficult answer(s), it gives us the key themes and peoples involved in the questioning.
vv.6-24 – The three-fold addressing of the question- vv. 6-9 – Qu. 1 – Has God’s word failed? – Begins to answer with example (Children of Abraham)
o vv. 10-13 – Concludes answer with example (Jacob an Esau)
- vv. 14-15 – Qu. 2 – Is God unjust? – Begins to answer with example (Ex. 33: 19)
o vv. 16-18 - Concludes answer with example (Pharaoh)
- vv. 19-21 – Qu. 3 – Why does God still blame us? – Begins to answer with illustration (the potter and the clay)
o vv.22-24 – Concludes answer with illustration (vessels) and explanation of God’s ultimate purpose (to show the riches of His glory)
vv. 25-29 – Concluding and reasserting the answer with scriptural proof
vv. 20-33 – (smaller-version of whole chapter) Epilogue to Rom. 9, and small Prologue (to emphasis the over-all prologue of Rom. 9) to Rom. 10-11