God Is Supreme


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:

  1. “From him are all things”: God is the source of all things. God is the supreme Creator.
  2. “Through him are all things”: God is the means of all things. God is the supreme King.
  3. “To him are all things”: God is the end of all things. God is the supreme goal.
  4. “To him be glory forever. Amen.” Therefore, God deserves glory forever.

For more on Romans 11:33–36, see these two recent videos:

  1. How to Read the Bible: A Lab on Romans 11:33–36 | Bethlehem College & Seminary “Look at the Sacred Book” Conference | 9/25/2021
  2. The Supremacy of God in All Things (Romans 11:36) | Bethlehem Baptist Church | 10/10/2021

Andy Naselli
Associate Professor of Systematic Theology and New Testament

Prayer Requests

  1. Pray that our leaders and faculty would clearly articulate what is true and what is false in a way that honors our Lord.
  2. Pray that our faculty and staff would grow in relational thickness—as teammates who trust each other, as family who love and like each other.
  3. Pray that our students would not waste their lives—that they would be faithful stewards and not be enslaved to sexual sin or any other sin.
  4. Pray for Serious Joy: The 34th Bethlehem Conference for Pastors, which we will be relaunching in February 2022. Our theme is Gravity and Gladness in a Groaning World. Pray for both our preparation and the pastors who will be joining us.
  5. Pray for the full funding of the Serious Joy Scholarship for all our resident students.