1 What advantage then does the Jew have [i.e., over the Gentile]? Or what value is there in circumcision? 2 Much in every way! First of all, the Jews were entrusted with the messages of God [i.e., their prophets received divine revelations]. 3 But what if some [of the Jews] were unfaithful? Does their lack of faith nullify the faithfulness of God? Certainly not! 4 But let God be truthful, [even if] everyone [else] is a liar. For it is written [Psa. 51:4], "[God], you should be proven right when you speak, and win [your case] when put on trial."
5 Now if our wrongdoing serves to emphasize more clearly that God does what is right, what should we say about that? Is God being unjust for sending [His] wrath [on the world]? (I am raising a human objection). 6 Certainly not, for then how could He judge the world? 7 But if my "lie" [i.e., as you Jews call it] would result in God's truthfulness [about you Jews] increasing the honor He receives, why am I also still judged to be a sinner [by you]? 8 And why should we not say, "Let us do what is wrong so something good will come from it," as some people slanderously claim that we are saying? These people deserve to be condemned.
9 What then? Are we [Jews] any better off [than those Gentiles]? No, not at all, for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks [i.e., Gentiles] alike are under [the power of] sin, 10 as it is written [Psa. 14:1ff; 53:1ff], "No one [always] does what is right; not even one person. 11 No one understands [everything]. No one looks to God [all the time]. 12 Everyone has turned away [from God]. All of them have become worthless. No one is [always] kind; no, not even one person." 13 [Psa. 5:9 says], "Their throats are like open graves [i.e., they are foul-mouthed]. They have spoken deceitfully." [Psa. 90:3 says], "There is snake venom under their lips [i.e., their words are deadly]." 14 [Psa. 10:7 says], "Their speech is full of cursing and bitterness." 15 [Isa. 59:7ff says], "Their feet [take them where they] are quick to commit murder. 16 Their pathways are strewn with ruin and misery [i.e., caused by them]. 17 They have not known [how to walk on] a peaceful pathway." 18 [Psa. 36:1 says], "They do not view God with reverence."
19 Now we [all] know that everything the law says applies to those who are under [obligation to obey] that law, [Note: Here "the law" appears to refer to the Old Testament Scriptures generally, since Psalms and Isaiah are quoted. See verses 10-18]. This is so that the mouth of every objector may be stopped [i.e., from making excuses for his sin], and thereby bring the entire world under God's judgment [i.e., both Jews and Gentiles]. 20 This is because no human being can be considered right with God by [obeying] the requirements of a law. [Note: It is difficult to determine the exact sense in which "law" is used in these verses. It may be law generally, or the law of Moses specifically. See Bruce, pages 52-58]. For the knowledge of what sin is comes from the law of Moses.
21 But now [i.e., under the Gospel age], a way of being considered right with God apart from [any] law has been made known. [The writings of] the law [i.e., the Pentateuch] and the prophets bear witness to this. 22 Being considered right with God is [obtained] through faith in Jesus Christ by every person who believes [in Him], for there is no favoritism [with God], 23 for everyone has sinned and falls short of God's glory [i.e., His approval, or His perfect character]. 24 But people are made right with Him as a free gift by His unearned favor, through being bought back [from Satan] by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Jesus as the atoning sacrifice [for our sins] through [our] faith in His blood [i.e., His death on the cross]. This was in order to demonstrate His justice when, by using forbearance, He passed over people's sins in previous generations. 26 [In doing this] God [also] demonstrated His justice [to people] of this present time, that He Himself is just and the One who makes the people right with Him who have faith in Jesus.
27 Where then is the [basis for] boasting [i.e., over being right with God]? There is not any. Is it by [obedience to] a law? Is it by doing certain deeds? Not at all, but by a law of faith. 28 For we conclude that a person is made right with God by faith [in Christ], apart from [obedience to] the requirements of a law [or, the law of Moses, See verse 20]. 29 Or is God the God of the Jews only? Is He not the God of the Gentiles also? Yes, [indeed], of the Gentiles also, 30 since there is [only] one God, who makes the circumcised ones [i.e., the Jews] right with Him by faith [in Christ] and the uncircumcised ones [i.e., the Gentiles] through faith [in Christ]. 31 Do we then [intend to] destroy law [observance] because faith [in Christ is now required]? Certainly not! But [instead], we uphold [the validity of] law.