Understanding the Scriptures
|Remnant (v. 5)||Some remaining who believe|
|Provoke (vv. 11, 14)||Stir|
|Emulation (v. 14)||To follow another’s example|
|Reconciling (v. 15)||Saving|
|Boast not against the branches (v. 18)||Appreciate the value of your heritage|
|Highminded (v. 20)||Proud|
|Severity (v. 22)||Sternness|
Romans 11:25—“The Fulness of the Gentiles”
Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught the following about the “fulness of the Gentiles”: “For the nearly two thousand years between Abraham and Christ, the statutes and judgments of God were reserved almost exclusively for the seed of Abraham and for the house of Israel. During the mortal ministry of our Lord, the message was limited to Israel, to the Jews, and it was not then offered to the Gentiles. After Jesus’ resurrection, Peter opened the door to the preaching of the gospel of the Gentiles, and Paul became their chief apostolic advocate and teacher. Thus there was a period or time appointed for the Jews to hear the word, and then a period of time for the Gentiles to take precedence. The times of the Gentiles is the period during which the gospel goes to them on a preferential basis, and this will continue until they have had a full opportunity to accept the truth, or in other words until the fulness of the Gentiles. Then the message will go again to the Jews, meaning to the Jews as a nation and as a people” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 2:290).
Romans 11:1–5—The Election of Grace
Heavenly Father’s plan requires that all of His children have an opportunity to accept or reject the gospel. To ensure this, spirits were chosen to come to earth through the lineage of Abraham with the responsibility to teach the gospel to their brothers and sisters (see Abraham 2:9–11). Heavenly Father “elected” these spirits according to His “foreknowledge” of them in the premortal life and trained them to be His ministers in mortality (see D&C 138:55–56). This “election of grace” gives members of the Church the assignment to fulfill this responsibility in our day (see Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 2:273–75).
Romans 11:16–25—“Graffed in among Them”
When branches on fruit trees begin to die, a gardener can cut them off and graft in new branches from a healthy tree. If done correctly, the new branches will grow and become part of the old tree. Paul used the example of grafting to explain how the Gentiles can receive all of the blessings of Israel. Since the Lord’s covenant people of the house of Israel are not always faithful, like dead branches on a fruit tree, the Lord may cut them off and replace them with new branches from another tree. Paul taught that converted Gentiles are new branches “graffed [grafted] in among” the tree of Israel (Romans 11:17).
Studying the Scriptures
Do activities A and B as you study Romans 11.
Chosen to Teach the Gospel
Read about the election of grace in the “Understanding the Scriptures” section for Romans 11:1–5. Then write a brief paragraph about what this doctrine means to you personally.
The Parable of the Olive Tree
Paul taught that the natural branches of the olive tree represent the Jews and the wild branches represent the Gentiles. Make two columns and write Natural Branches at the top of one and Wild Branches on the other. As you read Romans 11:17–24, list in the appropriate column what you learn about each. The following questions might be helpful:
Why did the natural branches break off?
Why was it necessary to graft wild branches into the olive tree?
What warning did Paul give the wild branches?
What did you learn about how the Lord treats all of His children?