Contemporary English Version
1 From Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus.
God chose me to be an apostle, and he appointed me to preach the good news 2 that he promised long ago by what his prophets said in the holy Scriptures. 3-4 This good news is about his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ! As a human, he was from the family of David. But the Holy Spirit[a] proved that Jesus is the powerful Son of God,[b] because he was raised from death.
5 Jesus was kind to me and chose me to be an apostle,[c] so that people of all nations would obey and have faith. 6 You are some of those people chosen by Jesus Christ.
7 This letter is to all of you in Rome. God loves you and has chosen you to be his very own people.
I pray that God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ will be kind to you and will bless you with peace!
A Prayer of Thanks
8 First, I thank God in the name of Jesus Christ for all of you. I do this because people everywhere in the world are talking about your faith. 9 God has seen how I never stop praying for you, while I serve him with all my heart and tell the good news about his Son.
10 In all my prayers, I ask God to make it possible for me to visit you. 11 I want to see you and share with you the same blessings that God’s Spirit has given me. Then you will grow stronger in your faith. 12 What I am saying is that we can encourage each other by the faith that is ours.
13 My friends, I want you to know that I have often planned to come for a visit. But something has always kept me from doing it. I want to win followers to Christ in Rome, as I have done in many other places. 14-15 It doesn’t matter if people are civilized and educated, or if they are uncivilized and uneducated. I must tell the good news to everyone. That’s why I am eager to visit all of you in Rome.
The Power of the Good News
16 I am proud of the good news! It is God’s powerful way of saving all people who have faith, whether they are Jews or Gentiles. 17 The good news tells how God accepts everyone who has faith, but only those who have faith.[d] It is just as the Scriptures say, “The people God accepts because of their faith will live.”[e]
Everyone Is Guilty
18 From heaven God shows how angry he is with all the wicked and evil things that sinful people do to crush the truth. 19 They know everything that can be known about God, because God has shown it all to them. 20 God’s eternal power and character cannot be seen. But from the beginning of creation, God has shown what these are like by all he has made. That’s why those people don’t have any excuse. 21 They know about God, but they don’t honor him or even thank him. Their thoughts are useless, and their stupid minds are in the dark. 22 They claim to be wise, but they are fools. 23 They don’t worship the glorious and eternal God. Instead, they worship idols that are made to look like humans who cannot live forever, and like birds, animals, and reptiles.
24 So God let these people go their own way. They did what they wanted to do, and their filthy thoughts made them do shameful things with their bodies. 25 They gave up the truth about God for a lie, and they worshiped God’s creation instead of God, who will be praised forever. Amen.
26 God let them follow their own evil desires. Women no longer wanted to have sex in a natural way, and they did things with each other that were not natural. 27 Men behaved in the same way. They stopped wanting to have sex with women and had strong desires for sex with other men. They did shameful things with each other, and what has happened to them is punishment for their foolish deeds.
28 Since these people refused even to think about God, he let their useless minds rule over them. That’s why they do all sorts of indecent things. 29 They are evil, wicked, and greedy, as well as mean in every possible way. They want what others have, and they murder, argue, cheat, and are hard to get along with. They gossip, 30 say cruel things about others, and hate God. They are proud, conceited, and boastful, always thinking up new ways to do evil.
These people don’t respect their parents. 31 They are stupid, unreliable, and don’t have any love or pity for others. 32 They know God has said that anyone who acts this way deserves to die. But they keep on doing evil things, and they even encourage others to do them.
God’s Judgment Is Fair
2 Some of you accuse others of doing wrong. But there is no excuse for what you do. When you judge others, you condemn yourselves, because you are guilty of doing the very same things. 2 We know that God is right to judge everyone who behaves in this way. 3 Do you really think God won’t punish you, when you behave exactly like the people you accuse? 4 You surely don’t think much of God’s wonderful goodness or of his patience and willingness to put up with you. Don’t you know that the reason God is good to you is because he wants you to turn to him?
5 But you are stubborn and refuse to turn to God. So you are making things even worse for yourselves on that day when he will show how angry he is and will judge the world with fairness. 6 God will reward each of us for what we have done. 7 He will give eternal life to everyone who has patiently done what is good in the hope of receiving glory, honor, and life that lasts forever. 8 But he will show how angry and furious he can be with every selfish person who rejects the truth and wants to do evil. 9 All who are wicked will be punished with trouble and suffering. It doesn’t matter if they are Jews or Gentiles. 10 But all who do right will be rewarded with glory, honor, and peace, whether they are Jews or Gentiles. 11 God doesn’t have any favorites!
12 Those people who don’t know about God’s Law will still be punished for what they do wrong. And the Law will be used to judge everyone who knows what it says. 13 God accepts those who obey his Law, but not those who simply hear it.
14 Some people naturally obey the Law’s commands, even though they don’t have the Law. 15 This proves that the conscience is like a law written in the human heart. And it will show whether we are forgiven or condemned, 16 when God appoints Jesus Christ to judge everyone’s secret thoughts, just as my message says.
The Jews and the Law
17 Some of you call yourselves Jews. You trust in the Law and take pride in God. 18 By reading the Scriptures you learn how God wants you to behave, and you discover what is right. 19 You are sure that you are a guide for the blind and a light for all who are in the dark. 20 And since there is knowledge and truth in God’s Law, you think you can instruct fools and teach young people.
21 But how can you teach others when you refuse to learn? You preach that it is wrong to steal. But do you steal? 22 You say people should be faithful in marriage. But are you faithful? You hate idols, yet you rob their temples. 23 You take pride in the Law, but you disobey the Law and bring shame to God. 24 It is just as the Scriptures tell us, “You have made foreigners say insulting things about God.”
25 Being circumcised is worthwhile, if you obey the Law. But if you don’t obey the Law, you are no better off than people who are not circumcised. 26 In fact, if they obey the Law, they are as good as anyone who is circumcised. 27 So everyone who obeys the Law, but has never been circumcised, will condemn you. Even though you are circumcised and have the Law, you still don’t obey its teachings.
28 Just because you live like a Jew and are circumcised doesn’t make you a real Jew. 29 To be a real Jew you must obey the Law. True circumcision is something that happens deep in your heart, not something done to your body. And besides, you should want praise from God and not from humans.
3 What good is it to be a Jew? What good is it to be circumcised? 2 It is good in a lot of ways! First of all, God’s messages were spoken to the Jews. 3 It is true that some of them did not believe the message. But does this mean that God cannot be trusted, just because they did not have faith? 4 No, indeed! God tells the truth, even if everyone else is a liar. The Scriptures say about God,
will be proven true,
and in court
you will win your case.”
5 If our evil deeds show how right God is, then what can we say? Is it wrong for God to become angry and punish us? What a foolish thing to ask. 6 But the answer is, “No.” Otherwise, how could God judge the world? 7 Since your lies bring great honor to God by showing how truthful he is, you may ask why God still says you are a sinner. 8 You might as well say, “Let’s do something evil, so that something good will come of it!” Some people even claim that we are saying this. But God is fair and will judge them as well.
No One Is Good
9 What does all this mean? Does it mean that we Jews are better off[f] than the Gentiles? No, it doesn’t! Jews, as well as Gentiles, are ruled by sin, just as I have said. 10 The Scriptures tell us,
“No one is acceptable to God!
11 Not one of them understands
or even searches for God.
12 They have all turned away
and are worthless.
There isn’t one person
who does right.
13 Their words are like
an open pit,
and their tongues are good
only for telling lies.
Each word is as deadly
as the fangs of a snake,
14 and they say nothing
but bitter curses.
15 These people quickly
16 Wherever they go,
they leave ruin
17 They don’t know how
to live in peace.
18 They don’t even fear God.”
19 We know that everything in the Law was written for those who are under its power. The Law says these things to stop anyone from making excuses and to let God show that the whole world is guilty. 20 God doesn’t accept people simply because they obey the Law. No, indeed! All the Law does is to point out our sin.
God’s Way of Accepting People
21 Now we see how God does make us acceptable to him. The Law and the Prophets[g] tell how we become acceptable, and it isn’t by obeying the Law of Moses. 22 God treats everyone alike. He accepts people only because they have faith in Jesus Christ. 23 All of us have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. 24 But God treats us much better than we deserve,[h] and because of Christ Jesus, he freely accepts us and sets us free from our sins. 25-26 God sent Christ to be our sacrifice. Christ offered his life’s blood, so that by faith in him we could come to God. And God did this to show that in the past he was right to be patient and forgive sinners. This also shows that God is right when he accepts people who have faith in Jesus.
27 What is left for us to brag about? Not a thing! Is it because we obeyed some law? No! It is because of faith. 28 We see that people are acceptable to God because they have faith, and not because they obey the Law. 29 Does God belong only to the Jews? Isn’t he also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, he is! 30 There is only one God, and he accepts Gentiles as well as Jews, simply because of their faith. 31 Do we destroy the Law by our faith? Not at all! We make it even more powerful.
- 1.4 the Holy Spirit: Or “his own spirit of holiness.”
- 1.4 proved that Jesus is the powerful Son of God: Or “proved in a powerful way that Jesus is the Son of God.”
- 1.5 Jesus was kind to me and chose me to be an apostle: Or “Jesus was kind to us and chose us to be his apostles.”
- 1.17 but only those who have faith: Or “and faith is all that matters.”
- 1.17 The people God accepts because of their faith will live: Or “The people God accepts will live because of their faith.”
- 3.9 better off: Or “worse off.”
- 3.21 The Law and the Prophets: The Jewish Scriptures, that is, the Old Testament.
- 3.24 treats us much better than we deserve: The Greek word charis, traditionally rendered “grace,” is translated here and other places in the CEV to express the overwhelming kindness of God.