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Question and Answer

If the Lord does not show partiality, why does the gospel go to the Jew first then to the Greek?

Scripture says that there is no partiality with God (Psalm 82; Prov. 28:21; Luke 20:21; Acts 10:34; Rom. 2:11). Therefore, we can conclude that the idea of the gospel going to the descendants of Israel first cannot communicate the idea of partiality. Instead, the movement of the gospel from the Jews to the Gentiles should be understood as priority rather than partiality.

The Lord’s dealings with humanity to provide redemption from sin began in Genesis 3:15 and advanced in Genesis 12 through the line of Abraham and his descendants. He narrows this line to Isaac over Ishmael and Jacob over Esau. The descendants of Jacob—Israel—become the stewards of the promise of redemption as both the recipients and the mediators to the peoples of the earth (Gen. 12:3; 26:4; 28:14).

The Lord makes promises to Israel that He has sworn to uphold: “Theirs . . . are the promises . . . and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah” (Rom. 9:4–5; see also Heb. 6:13–14). The Lord gave stewardship of His word of promise to Israel, and when the gospel is preached, the Lord demonstrates His faithfulness to keep His promises to Israel by coming to them first.

If I had a plate of cookies on which all of the cookies were of equal quality and taste, I could offer to share the plate with my children. If I hold out the plate to the youngest first, I am not demonstrating partiality; I only am prioritizing her as the youngest child. Each child still has the offer of a cookie from the plate, and each child has the offer of a cookie of the same quality and taste.

When one preaches the death and resurrection of Christ to Gentiles, they receive the same gospel that Israel has been offered. As the Gospels and the book of Acts recount, the initial preaching of the gospel went to Jewish people. The Lord is faithful to Israel and His promises to them are true, and both Jews and Gentiles have equal access to Christ through the gospel by faith (Gal. 3:14; Rom. 3:30).

BY Dr. Eric C. Redmond

Dr. Eric C. Redmond serves as a professor of Bible at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and as associate pastor of adult ministries at Calvary Memorial Church in Oak Park, Ill. He is married to Pam and they have five children. He is the author of Say It!  Celebrating Expository Preaching in the African American Tradition (Moody Publishers), Where Are All the Brothers? Straight Answers to Men's’ Questions about the Church (Crossway), a commentary on Jonah in the Christ-Centered Exposition Series (B&H Publishers), and a study guide on Ephesians in the Knowing the Bible series (Crossway).

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