Romans 4:1

What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, has found?
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Ambrosiaster

AD 400
After showing that no one can be justified before God by the works of the law, Paul goes on to say that Abraham could not merit anything according to the flesh either. In saying “the flesh,” Paul meant circumcision, because Abraham sought nothing on the basis of his circumcision. For he was already justified before he was circumcised. Commentary on Paul’s Epistles. ...

George Leo Haydock

AD 1849
The apostle proves what he had advanced in the last chapter, that the Jews cannot be justified by the works of the written law, nor by any works, unless joined with faith in the Messias, their Redeemer. This he shows by the example of Abraham, who is said to have been justified by believing; 2. and this was before he was circumcised; 3. and long before the law of Moses. Justification was then given without the works of that law. What advantage shall we say, then, that Abraham hath found, who is our father according to the flesh? This seems the true construction and sense: rather than what did he find according to the flesh, as some expound it. (Witham) ...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
The Jews kept repeating that Abraham, the friend of God, was the first to be circumcised. Paul wants to show that he was justified by faith.

Thomas Aquinas

AD 1274
After excluding the glory which the Jews took in the Law, on the basis of which they preferred themselves to the Gentiles [n. 169 and 248], the Apostle now excludes their glory in regard to circumcision. About which he does two things. First, he takes up the question he had raised earlier [n. 247], when he asked: "What is the usefulness of circumcision?" And because Abraham was the first to receive the command about circumcision, as stated in Genesis 17(:10), he repeats the question in the person of Abraham himself, saying: If it is true that God justifies the uncircumcised as well as the circumcised, What usefulness then shall we say Abraham to have found, who is our father according to the flesh? That is, according to circumcision and other bodily observances. For it does not seem fitting to say that he found no usefulness, since it is stated in Isaiah 48(:17), "I am the Lord, your God, who teaches you useful things." 323. Secondly, when he says, For if Abraham, he answers the questi...

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. - 2 Peter 1:20

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