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A Jew’s Advantage and God’s Faithfulness

What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew? Or what benefit is there to circumcision? Much in every way! Indeed, above all else, they were entrusted with the messages of God.

Now what if some did not believe? Their unbelief[a] will not nullify God’s faithfulness, will it? Absolutely not! God must be true, even though everyone is found to be a liar, just as it is written:

So that you would be justified whenever you speak,
and win the case when you judge.[b]

An Absurd Conclusion

Now if our unrighteousness demonstrates God’s righteousness, what shall we say? God is not unjust in bringing his wrath on us, is he? (I am speaking from a human point of view.) Absolutely not! If that were so, how could God judge the world? For example,[c] someone might say, “If by my lie the truth of God increases all the more to his glory, why am I still being judged as a sinner?” And why not say (as some slanderously claim we say), “Let us do evil so that good may result.” Their condemnation is deserved.

All Are Guilty of Sin

What then? Are we any better off? No, not at all! In fact, we have already made the charge that all (both Jews and Greeks) are under sin. 10 Just as it is written:

There is no one who is righteous, not even one.
11 There is no one who understands. There is no one who searches for God.
12 They all turned away; together they became useless.
There is no one who does what is good; there is not even one.[d]

13 Their throat is an open grave.
They kept deceiving with their tongues.
The poison of asps is on their lips.[e]
14 Their mouth is filled with cursing and bitterness.[f]

15 Their feet are quick to shed blood.
16 They leave a trail of destruction and suffering wherever they go.
17 The way of peace they did not know.[g]

18 There is no fear of God in front of their eyes.[h]

The Law Condemns Everyone

19 Now we know that whatever the law says is addressed to those who are under the law,[i] so that every mouth will be silenced and the whole world will be subject to God’s judgment. 20 For this reason, no one[j] will be declared righteous in his sight by works of the law, for through the law we become aware of sin.

A Righteousness Apart From the Law by Faith

21 But now, completely apart from the law, a righteousness from God has been made known. The Law and the Prophets testify to it. 22 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all and over all[k] who believe.

In fact, there is no difference, 23 because all have sinned and fall short of the glory[l] of God 24 and are justified[m] freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God publicly displayed as the atonement seat[n] through faith in his blood. God did this to demonstrate his justice, since, in his divine restraint, he had left the sins that were committed earlier unpunished. 26 He did this to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so that he would be both just and the one who justifies the person who has faith in Jesus.

27 What happens to boasting then? It has been eliminated. By what principle[o]—by the principle of works? No, but by the principle of faith. 28 For we conclude that a person is justified by faith without the works of the law. 29 Or is he only the God of the Jews? Is he not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, also of the Gentiles, 30 since there is one God who will justify the circumcised person by faith and the uncircumcised person through the very same faith. 31 So are we doing away with the law by this faith? Absolutely not! Instead, we are upholding the law.


  1. Romans 3:3 Or some were not faithful? Their unfaithfulness. . .
  2. Romans 3:4 Psalm 51:4
  3. Romans 3:7 A few witnesses to the text read And. (“Witnesses to the text” mentioned in footnotes may include Greek manuscripts, lectionaries, translations, and quotations in the church fathers.)
  4. Romans 3:12 Psalm 14:1-3; 53:1-3; Ecclesiastes 7:20
  5. Romans 3:13 Psalm 5:9; 140:3
  6. Romans 3:14 Psalm 10:7
  7. Romans 3:17 Isaiah 59:7-8
  8. Romans 3:18 Psalm 36:1
  9. Romans 3:19 Or those in the sphere of the law
  10. Romans 3:20 Literally flesh
  11. Romans 3:22 Some witnesses to the text omit and over all.
  12. Romans 3:23 Or approval
  13. Romans 3:24 Or declared righteous
  14. Romans 3:25 The atonement seat was the cover of the Ark of the Covenant. It served as the footstool of God’s throne and was the place where the sacrificial blood was sprinkled on the Day of Atonement (see Leviticus 16:2,14,15). Christ is the fulfillment of the function of the atonement seat.
  15. Romans 3:27 In this verse, principle translates the Greek term nomos, which is often translated law.

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).