"What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power..". E.S.V. Romans 9:22.

There is already a question about "What if" on this site but comparing it with this one, they appear to me to have separate viewpoints.

It is a common enough construction in English that "if" is followed by "then". e.g. "If it rains today then I will stay at home", or, "If the P.M. passes this law then I will have no choice but to resign".

In Rom 9:22 we have an "if". [I think "What if" is not in the Greek]. And at Rom 9:30 we have a "then".

Are these two directly connected? Does this "if" have this "then"?

"If God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction......what shall we say, then?" [Or, then what shall we say?].

Rom 9:22 is often seen as "What if" but what is wrong with--"If God [does this and this and this] then what shall we say?"

When a footnote on this verse, e.g. MacArthur Study Bible, calls this question rhetorical, is it because the "if" of verse 22 is seen as not being followed by the "then" of v 30, or is there some other reason?

1 Answer 1


The protasis commences in Rom. 9:22 with,

εἰ δὲ θέλων ὁ θεὸς ἐνδείξασθαι τὴν ὀργὴν...
But if God, desiring to demonstrate His wrath...

Then Paul, as he often does, commmences to quote various passages of the Old Testament at length, thus potentially causing the reader to lose thought of the protasis and the expectation of its local and immediate apodosis.

However, Paul ultimately arrives at the apodosis in Rom. 9:30,

Τί οὖν ἐροῦμεν...
Then, what do we say...?

(In other words, yes, it seems to me your suggestion that there is a connection between Rom. 9:22 and 9:30 is correct.)

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