Paul Answers an Objection

So what advantage does the Jew have? Or what is the benefit of circumcision? Considerable in every way. First, they were entrusted(A) with the spoken words of God.(B) What then? If some did not believe,(C) will their unbelief cancel God’s faithfulness? Absolutely not!(D) God must be true, even if everyone is a liar,(E) as it is written:

That You may be justified in Your words
and triumph when You judge.(F)[a]

But if our unrighteousness highlights[b] God’s righteousness,(G) what are we to say?(H) I use a human argument:[c](I) Is God unrighteous to inflict wrath? Absolutely not! Otherwise, how will God judge the world?(J) But if by my lie God’s truth is amplified to His glory, why am I also still judged as a sinner?(K) And why not say, just as some people slanderously claim we say, “Let us do what is evil so that good may come”?(L) Their condemnation is deserved!

The Whole World Guilty before God

What then? Are we any better?[d] Not at all! For we have previously charged that both Jews(M) and Gentiles[e](N) are all under sin,[f](O) 10 as it is written:[g]

There is no one righteous, not even one.
11 There is no one who understands;
there is no one who seeks God.
12 All have turned away;
all alike have become useless.
There is no one who does what is good,
not even one.(P)[h]
13 Their throat is an open grave;
they deceive with their tongues.(Q)[i]
Vipers’ venom is under their lips.(R)[j]
14 Their mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.(S)[k]
15 Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16 ruin and wretchedness are in their paths,
17 and the path of peace they have not known.(T)[l]
18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.(U)[m]

19 Now we know that whatever the law says(V) speaks to those who are subject to the law,[n](W) so that every mouth may be shut and the whole world may become subject to God’s judgment.[o](X) 20 For no one will be justified[p] in His sight by the works of the law,(Y) because the knowledge of sin comes through the law.(Z)

God’s Righteousness through Faith

21 But now, apart from the law, God’s righteousness has been revealed(AA)—attested by the Law and the Prophets[q](AB) 22 —that is, God’s righteousness through faith(AC) in Jesus Christ,[r](AD) to all who believe,(AE) since there is no distinction.(AF) 23 For all have sinned(AG) and fall short of the[s] glory of God. 24 They are justified freely by His grace(AH) through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.(AI) 25 God presented Him as a propitiation[t](AJ) through faith in His blood,(AK) to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His restraint God(AL) passed over the sins previously committed.(AM) 26 God presented Him to demonstrate His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be righteous and declare righteous[u] the one who has faith in Jesus.

Boasting Excluded

27 Where then is boasting?(AN) It is excluded. By what kind of law?[v](AO) By one of works? No, on the contrary, by a law[w] of faith. 28 For we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.(AP) 29 Or is God for Jews only?(AQ) Is He not also for Gentiles? Yes, for Gentiles too, 30 since there is one God(AR) who will justify the circumcised by faith(AS) and the uncircumcised through faith. 31 Do we then cancel the law through faith? Absolutely not!(AT) On the contrary, we uphold the law.(AU)


  1. Romans 3:4 Ps 51:4
  2. Romans 3:5 Or shows, or demonstrates
  3. Romans 3:5 Lit I speak as a man
  4. Romans 3:9 Are we Jews any better than the Gentiles?
  5. Romans 3:9 Lit Greeks
  6. Romans 3:9 Under sin’s power or dominion
  7. Romans 3:10 Paul constructs this charge from a chain of OT quotations, mainly from the Psalms.
  8. Romans 3:12 Ps 14:1-3; 53:1-3; Ec 7:20
  9. Romans 3:13 Ps 5:9
  10. Romans 3:13 Ps 140:3
  11. Romans 3:14 Ps 10:7
  12. Romans 3:17 Is 59:7-8
  13. Romans 3:18 Ps 36:1
  14. Romans 3:19 Lit those in the law
  15. Romans 3:19 Or become guilty before God, or may be accountable to God
  16. Romans 3:20 Or will be declared righteous, or will be acquitted
  17. Romans 3:21 When capitalized, the Law and the Prophets = OT
  18. Romans 3:22 Or through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ
  19. Romans 3:23 Or and lack the
  20. Romans 3:25 Or as a propitiatory sacrifice, or as an offering of atonement, or as a mercy seat; 2Co 5:21; Heb 9:5
  21. Romans 3:26 Or and justify, or and acquit
  22. Romans 3:27 Or what principle?
  23. Romans 3:27 Or a principle

God’s Faithfulness

What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision? Much in every way!(A) First of all, the Jews have been entrusted with the very words of God.(B)

What if some were unfaithful?(C) Will their unfaithfulness nullify God’s faithfulness?(D) Not at all! Let God be true,(E) and every human being a liar.(F) As it is written:

“So that you may be proved right when you speak
    and prevail when you judge.”[a](G)

But if our unrighteousness brings out God’s righteousness more clearly,(H) what shall we say? That God is unjust in bringing his wrath on us? (I am using a human argument.)(I) Certainly not! If that were so, how could God judge the world?(J) Someone might argue, “If my falsehood enhances God’s truthfulness and so increases his glory,(K) why am I still condemned as a sinner?”(L) Why not say—as some slanderously claim that we say—“Let us do evil that good may result”?(M) Their condemnation is just!

No One Is Righteous

What shall we conclude then? Do we have any advantage?(N) Not at all! For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin.(O) 10 As it is written:

“There is no one righteous, not even one;
11     there is no one who understands;
    there is no one who seeks God.
12 All have turned away,
    they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
    not even one.”[b](P)
13 “Their throats are open graves;
    their tongues practice deceit.”[c](Q)
“The poison of vipers is on their lips.”[d](R)
14     “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”[e](S)
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16     ruin and misery mark their ways,
17 and the way of peace they do not know.”[f](T)
18     “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”[g](U)

19 Now we know that whatever the law says,(V) it says to those who are under the law,(W) so that every mouth may be silenced(X) and the whole world held accountable to God.(Y) 20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law;(Z) rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.(AA)

Righteousness Through Faith

21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God(AB) has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.(AC) 22 This righteousness(AD) is given through faith(AE) in[h] Jesus Christ(AF) to all who believe.(AG) There is no difference between Jew and Gentile,(AH) 23 for all have sinned(AI) and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified(AJ) freely by his grace(AK) through the redemption(AL) that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement,[i](AM) through the shedding of his blood(AN)—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished(AO) 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

27 Where, then, is boasting?(AP) It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith. 28 For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.(AQ) 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too,(AR) 30 since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith.(AS) 31 Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.


  1. Romans 3:4 Psalm 51:4
  2. Romans 3:12 Psalms 14:1-3; 53:1-3; Eccles. 7:20
  3. Romans 3:13 Psalm 5:9
  4. Romans 3:13 Psalm 140:3
  5. Romans 3:14 Psalm 10:7 (see Septuagint)
  6. Romans 3:17 Isaiah 59:7,8
  7. Romans 3:18 Psalm 36:1
  8. Romans 3:22 Or through the faithfulness of
  9. Romans 3:25 The Greek for sacrifice of atonement refers to the atonement cover on the ark of the covenant (see Lev. 16:15,16).