My favorite verse in the Bible is Romans 11:36: “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.” Several years ago I asked one of my friends to design that passage so that I could display it on canvas over the fireplace in our home. This is what he designed for me:
This passage teaches that God is supreme. To say that God is supreme means that God is superior to everyone and everything else. God has no rivals. He is unique.
Here is my phrase diagram of the immediate literary context of Romans 11:36:
The three exclamations in the first section (11:33) proclaim that God is deep and inscrutable.
The three rhetorical questions in the second section (11:34–35) begin with “for” because the second section supports the first one by exulting in three specific reasons that God is deep and inscrutable. (1) God is incomprehensible; (2) God is without counselors; and (3) God is without creditors (11:35).
These characteristics of God share at least two implications: God’s attributes are humbling to us, and God is gloriously praiseworthy. That is why Paul moves to praising God in 11:36.
Romans 11:36 begins with “For” to indicate that the three prepositional phrases support the three rhetorical questions (11:34–35), which support the three exclamations about God (11:33). The message of 11:36 is that God is supreme:
- “From him are all things”: God is the source of all things. God is the supreme Creator.
- “Through him are all things”: God is the means of all things. God is the supreme King.
- “To him are all things”: God is the end of all things. God is the supreme goal.
- “To him be glory forever. Amen.” Therefore, God deserves glory forever.
For more on Romans 11:33–36, see these two recent videos:
- How to Read the Bible: A Lab on Romans 11:33–36 | Bethlehem College & Seminary “Look at the Sacred Book” Conference | 9/25/2021
- The Supremacy of God in All Things (Romans 11:36) | Bethlehem Baptist Church | 10/10/2021
Associate Professor of Systematic Theology and New Testament
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