Romans 4 : Easy-to-Read Version
The Example of Abraham
4 1So what can we say about Abraham,* the father of our people? What did he learn about faith? 2If Abraham was made right by the things he did, then he had a reason to boast. But Abraham could not boast before God. 3The Scripture* says, "Abraham believed God. And God accepted Abraham's faith. That made Abraham right with God."* 4When a person works, his pay is not given to him as a gift. He earns the pay he gets. 5But a person cannot do any work that will make him right with God. So that person must trust in God. Then God accepts that person's faith (trust), and that makes him right with God. God is the One who makes even evil people right. 6David* said the same thing. David said that a person is truly happy when God does not look at the things that person has done but accepts him like a good person: 7"People are truly blessed (happy) when their wrongs are forgiven, and when their sins are covered! 8And when the Lord accepts a person like he was without sin, that person is truly blessed!" Psalm 32:1-2
9Is this happiness only for those people that are circumcised* (the Jews)? Or is this happiness also for people that are not circumcised (non-Jews)? We have already said that God accepted Abraham's faith, and that faith made him right with God. 10So how did this happen? Did God accept Abraham* before or after he was circumcised? God accepted him before his circumcision.* 11Abraham was circumcised later to show that God accepted him. His circumcision was proof that he was right with God through faith before he was circumcised. So Abraham is the father of all people that believe but are not circumcised. Those people believe and are accepted like people that are right with God. 12And Abraham is also the father of people that have been circumcised. But it is not their circumcision that makes Abraham their father. He is their father only if they live following the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.
God's Promise Received Through Faith
13Abraham* and his descendants* received the promise that they would get the whole world. But Abraham did not receive that promise because he followed the law.* Abraham received that promise because he was right with God through his faith. 14If people could get the things that God promised by following the law, then faith is worthless. And God's promise to Abraham is worthless. 15Why? Because the law can only bring God's anger [when the law is not obeyed]. But if there is no law, then there is nothing to disobey. 16So people get God's promise by having faith. This happens so that the promise can be a free gift. And if the promise is a free gift, then all of Abraham's* people can have that promise. The promise is not only for those people that live under the law [of Moses]. The promise is for any person that lives with faith like Abraham. Abraham is the father of us all. 17Like it is written [in the Scriptures*] "I have made you (Abraham) a father of many nations."* This is true before God. Abraham believed in God--the God who gives life to dead people and decides that things will happen that have not yet happened. 18There was no hope [that Abraham* would have children]. But Abraham believed God and continued hoping. And that is why he became the father of many nations. Like God told him, "You will have many descendants (children)."* 19Abraham was almost 100 years old, so his body was much past the age for having children. Also, Sarah could not have children. Abraham thought about this. But his faith in God did not become weak. 20Abraham never doubted that God would do the thing that God promised. Abraham never stopped believing. He grew stronger in his faith and gave praise to God. 21Abraham felt sure that God was able to do the thing that God promised. 22So, "God accepted Abraham's faith. That made him right with God."* 23Those words ("God accepted Abraham's faith") were written not only for Abraham. 24Those words were also written for us. God will also accept us because we believe. We believe in the One (God) that raised Jesus our Lord from death. 25Jesus was given to die for our sins. And he was raised from death to make us right with God.
Abraham The most respected ancestor of the Jews. Scripture Holy Writings--the Old Testament. "Abraham ... God" Quote from Gen. 15:6. David King of Israel about 1000 years before Christ. circumcised, circumcision To have the foreskin cut off. This was done to every Jewish baby boy as a mark of the agreement God made with Abraham (Gen. 17:9-14). descendants A person's children and all their future families. law God's law. It is represented in the law of Moses. "I ... nations" Quote from Gen. 17:5. "You ... descendants" Quote from Gen. 15:5. "God accepted ... God" Quote from Gen. 15:6.