To get what Romans 4:17 means based on its source text, scroll down or follow these links for the original scriptural meaning , biblical context and relative popularity.

“(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.”

Very high popularity: 2,400 searches a month
Popularity relative to other verses in Romans chapter 4 using average monthly Google searches.

Romans 4:17 Translation & Meaning

What does this verse really mean? Use this table to get a word-for-word translation of the original Greek Scripture. This shows the English words related to the source biblical texts along with brief definitions. Follow the buttons in the right-hand column for detailed definitions and verses that use the same root words. Use this reference information to gain deeper insight into the Bible and enrich your understanding. Information based on Strong's Exhaustive Concordance[1].

KJV Verse Original Greek Meaning/ Definition
This is a simplified translation of the original Greek word. Follow the buttons on the right to get more detail.
Use the buttons below to get details on the Greek word and view related Bible verses that use the same root word.
(As καθὼς Just (or inasmuch) as, that As
it is written, γέγραπται To "grave", especially to write; figuratively, to describe written
I have made τέθεικά To place (in the widest application, literally and figuratively; properly, in a passive or horizontal posture, and thus different from G2476, which properly denotes an upright and active position, while G2749 is properly reflexive and utterly prostrate) made
thee σε Thee thee
a father Πατέρα A "father" (literally or figuratively, near or more remote) father
of many πολλῶν (singular) much (in any respect) or (plural) many; neuter (singular) as adverbial, largely; neuter (plural) as adverb or noun often, mostly, largely many
nations,) ἐθνῶν A race (as of the same habit), i.e., a tribe; specially, a foreign (non-Jewish) one (usually, by implication, pagan) nations
before κατέναντι Directly opposite before
him whom οὗ The relatively (sometimes demonstrative) pronoun, who, which, what, that him whom
he believed, ἐπίστευσεν To have faith (in, upon, or with respect to, a person or thing), i.e., credit; by implication, to entrust (especially one's spiritual well-being to Christ) believed
even (No Greek definition. English implied.)
God, θεοῦ A deity, especially (with G3588) the supreme Divinity; figuratively, a magistrate; exceedingly (by Hebraism) God
who quickeneth ζῳοποιοῦντος To (re-)vitalize (literally or figuratively) quickeneth
the τοὺς The (sometimes to be supplied, at others omitted, in English idiom) the
dead, νεκροὺς Dead (literally or figuratively; also as noun) dead
and καὶ And, also, even, so then, too, etc.; often used in connection (or composition) with other particles or small words and
calleth καλοῦντος To "call" (properly, aloud, but used in a variety of applications, directly or otherwise) calleth
those things which be ὄντα Being those things
not μὴ (adverb) not, (conjunction) lest; also (as an interrogative implying a negative answer (whereas G3756 expects an affirmative one)) whether not
as ὡς Which how, i.e., in that manner (very variously used, as follows) as
though they ὄντα· Being though
were. ὄντα· Being were

Verse Context

See Romans 4:17 with its adjacent verses in bold below. Follow either of the two large buttons below to see these verses in their broader context of the King James Bible or a Bible concordance.

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  • 15  Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.

  • 16  Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,

  • 17  (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.

  • 18  Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.

  • 19  And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb:


The King James Bible (1611) and Strong's Concordance (1890) with Hebrew and Greek dictionaries are sourced from the BibleForgeDB database ( within the BibleForge project ( Popularity rankings are based on search volume data from the Google AdWords Keyword Planner tool.

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