An oracle can be a revelation or
the person through
whom the revelation is given.
There are several places in the Bible that mention
Oracles of God
In the New Testament, the term oracles of God refers to
The Word of God;
in the Old Testament, it sometimes refers to a part of
The New Testament Greek phrase sometimes translated
“oracles of God” is logion Theou
(logion being the plural form of logos).
“Words of God” is a good translation.
The KJV, ESV, NASB, and some other versions put
“oracles of God.”
This is a fine translation, too, as long as we define oracle properly.
In modern usage the word oracle often refers
to a person, specifically a prophet or medium
through whom gods spirit speaks
An oracle can also be
the place where the prophet or vessel
receives divine messages.
Another definition of oracle is
“a message from God"
The “oracles of God” in the New Testament are
the messages or words of God.
In Acts 7:38,
Stephen speaks of how Moses received living oracles
to give to us
(ESV)—a reference to the
life-giving nature of God’s Word
Romans 3:2 mentions the oracles of God in the ESV:
“To begin with, the Jews were
with the oracles of God.”
Paul highlights the fact that the Jews who
received, copied, and preserved the Tanakh had been
entrusted with the
Word of God.
This was an advantage to the Jews because it meant
the gospel would be preached to them first
and then to the Gentiles.
Of course, this advantage was only applicable to
those who believed the gospel,
as Paul states in the verses that follow.
Truly the good news, as Paul continues, is that
both Jews and Gentiles
now have access to righteousness
through faith in Jesus Christ
Hebrews 5:12 also speaks of the oracles of God in the NASB: “You have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God.” Again, the “oracles of God” here are the words of God. The writer of Hebrews says his readers should have moved beyond the basic principles of God’s Word and on to “meatier” subjects; instead, they are like babies who are not ready for solid food (verses 13–14).
First Peter 4:11 mentions the oracles of God in the KJV:
“If any man speak,
let him speak as the oracles of God.”
In this context Peter instructs us to
be extremely careful
with the gifts we receive from God
Our words should be chosen wisely and spoken as if
we are speaking
the very words (oracles) of God.
When we quote Scripture and expound on its meaning,
we actually are speaking the oracles of God.
Peter states the goal of our use of words:
So that in all things
God may be praised through
To him be the glory
and the power for ever and ever.
In 2 Samuel 16:23, the “oracle of God” (KJV) that
gave Ahithophel wisdom
means “the Word of God” or, more specifically,
“a divine utterance delivered
Elsewhere in the Old Testament, the “oracle of God”
refers to the place where
God dwelt-- the Most Holy Place
in the temple that contained
Ark of the Covenant--
and thus the place where inquiry could be
God’s wisdom, will, and word
(see 1 Kings 6:5 and 19 in the KJV).
We often skip over
the Great Commission,
but our efforts won’t work without
The authority of Christ means
we should not fear
what this world can do to us, but it also implies
we shouldn’t drag our feet with what
He has called us to do.
When Jesus communicated the
Great Commission to His disciples,
He was forty days
removed from rising from the grave
after His crucifixion.
He had interacted with these followers during that time,
but these concluding words would serve as their marching
orders in His absence.
Notice how He is still the one coming near
the relationship to continue.
Jesus came near and said to them,
“All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth.
Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son
and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them
to observe everything I have commanded you.
And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Since He rose victorious, they
need not question Jesus’ authority in heaven or on earth.
Due to His sovereign power, no one should fear
to do what He asked.
TO THE JEW FIRST
WHAT DOES IT MEAN AND WHY DOES IT MATTER?
“Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh…
you were at that time separated from Christ,
alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and
strangers to the covenants of promise,
having no hope and without God in the world. But now
in Christ Jesus
you who once were far off have been brought near by the
blood of Christ.
For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has
broken down in his flesh the
that he might create in himself
one new man in place of the two,
so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God
in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility…
For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.”
You have been made “one new man” with the Jewish people,
you have been given
the same access in the same Spirit to the same Father
(thanks to the same Messiah)
and you are fellow citizens – a member of the household of God along with the people of Israel. You are no longer strangers, but part of the commonwealth of Israel.
The dividing wall that once stood in the
beyond which only Jewish people could enter, has gone.
GOD’S ANSWER: THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS
"Do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember
it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you”
It is important to understand the
“To the Jew first” concept in Romans 1:16,
where Paul says,
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel,
for it is
the power of God for salvation
to everyone who believes,
to the Jew first
and also to the Greek”.
Let’s look at Romans 1:16 in the context of Romans as a whole.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN – TO THE JEW “FIRST”?
The word “first”
in the original Greek is the word “proton”
which we need to understand in order to appreciate all that Paul is saying here. There are a couple of ways of understanding
how the the gospel is to the
1. THE SEQUENTIAL VIEW:
This word ‘proton’ might mean first sequentially –
that the gospel went to the Jewish people first (historically), and then went out to the nations after that. The trouble is that people then mistakenly think that the Jewish people have had their chance back in the first century, but that they blew it.
The rest of the book of Romans is giving an
altogether different message.
The letter is encouraging Gentiles to remember
that God has NOT given up on the people of Israel.
2. THE PARTICULARITY VIEW:‘
Proton’ can also mean first as in
particularly, especially, or in prominence…
We would argue that it is this sense in which Paul
writes about the Jew being first.
The gospel is particularly and especially for the Jew –
and also for the Gentile.
Why must it be read this way and not in the sense of sequential order?
Because when we read the rest of the book of Romans,
we can see that is precisely what Paul means.
In the very next chapter, he uses exactly the same phrase –
judgement will also come to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:
“There will be tribulation and distress
for every human being who does evil, the
Jew first and also the Gentile,
but glory and honor and peace for everyone
who does good,
the Jew first and also the Gentile.”
So the gospel is first for the Jew,
and also for the Gentile. (1:16)
And judgement will come to the Jew first,
and also to the Gentile. (2:9)
When we put these two phrases next to each other,
we understand that Paul is saying
that the Jewish people are especially
accountable before God,
because they have been given so much
and so will be judged “first”
In the same way,
the story was entrusted to the Jewish people –
as Paul explains throughout his book, it was the
Jewish people who received the “Oracles of God” –
the Scriptures. It was
their very history as a people,
and it was through the Jewish people that the
Messiah came to redeem the whole world.
The book of Romans in effect reminds the Gentiles,
“You’ve not taken over,
so don’t be arrogant towards your Jewish brothers and sisters!”
The Messiah is Jewish, according to the flesh (1:3),
the “oracles of God”
were given to the people of Israel (3:2)
along with promises, temple,
the patriarchs, the adoption,
and all our redemptive blessings are
(3:1-2; 9:1-5, 11:28-29).
Romans 11:24 tells us that
the very root is Jewish,
which is why the gospel is especially
(proton) for Jews,
who are the natural branches that need to be
grafted back in (11:24).
Gentiles are unnatural branches which can
now be grafted
even though they are
not naturally from that
Romans 1 teaches that mankind has seen the
general revelation of God through nature and our consciences,
and so all are without excuse
But the rest of the book explains how
was given to the
people of Israel in particular,
making them all the more
So the Jewish people will be particularly judged
In the same way, we understand that Paul is saying that
is particularly and especially (proton) for the Jewish people,
because the groundwork has already been done –
the tracks are already laid… but the gospel is now
ALSO and EQUALLY for the Gentiles.
has been opened up for all.
SO WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR US TODAY?
These biblical principles
should have an effect on
that we go about fulfilling the
The church must strive to remember that
historically, contextually and covenantally,
the gospel is,
was and will always be particularly and especially
for Jewish people
because it’s such a Jewish thing!
“Replacement theology” that considers the church to have taken the place of Israel is sinful, not only because of its arrogance toward the Jewish people which the Bible warns us against, but also in terms of
its failure to appropriate Romans 1:16 in
the Great Commission.
The gospel is for the Jewish people today as much as it ever was.
Our challenge is to boldly and joyfully embrace
that the gospel is the power of God
particularly to the Jew and equally to the Gentile.
Romans 11 teaches that Gentiles can be included and
grafted in equally, alongside Israel.
Ephesians shows how the Gentile believer is welcomed into a new home,
one they have never been to before, but they are now
warmly invited in as family.
The red carpet is laid out for the nations to join
the commonwealth of Israel,
and they can be adopted into a home that was not their own.
Equally, when we
share the gospel with Jewish people,
we are not asking them
to leave the faith of their Fathers –
we are inviting
come back home
“Proton” can either mean
first sequentially or in prominence.