Romans 11:16-24 - Two Olive Trees

© 2004 Tony Garland -


11:16 - The Branches are Holy

11:17 - Broken Branches

11:18 - The Root Supports You

11:19-20 - Do Not be Haughty

11:21 - He May Not Spare You

11:22 - Goodness and Severity

11:23 - Grafted In Again

11:24 - Their Own Olive Tree


  1. Salvation is of the Jews - Take note: believing Gentiles are not called "natural branches," but rather "wild branches" grafted in among believing Jews. This is a clear indication of the Jewishness of the roots of Christianity. As Gentiles, we should seek to understand the Jewish context of Christianity in order to better understand Scripture. Also: the fact that we, as clueless Gentiles, have come to faith in a Jewish Messiah through Jewish Scriptures should tell us just how easily God can graft Jews back into their position as people of faith.

  2. If the Root is Holy, so are the Branches - All branches, even those broken off by God, are "holy" in the sense of being set aside to fulfill God's purpose for the nation. We will see in the next few verses that even nonbelieving Jews, as part of Israel, are to be loved on account of their role in the plan and purpose of God.

  3. Believing Gentiles are not the "New Israel" - Israel is the same old Israel. The analogy Paul uses involves three main components, not two: (1) the natural branches (Jews); (2) the wild branches (Gentiles); and (3) the root and fatness which supports them both (the promises and convenants via the fathers). The wild branches (believing Gentiles) do not become natural branches (Jews). Nor are they grafted into the natural branches. both natural and wild branches participate in the root and fatness. Both wild and natural branches are joined into the same cultivated tree. This is a removal of the wall of separation between the natural and wild branches forming "one new man from the two" (Eph. 2:15).