Romans 3

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Romans 3
Papyrus 40, Fr. c - h.jpeg
Fragment c to h containing parts of the Epistle to the Romans in Papyrus 40, written about AD 250.
BookEpistle to the Romans
CategoryPauline epistles
Christian Bible partNew Testament
Order in the Christian part6

Romans 3 is the third chapter of the Epistle to the Romans in the New Testament of the Christian Bible. It was composed by Paul the Apostle, while he was in Corinth in the mid 50s CE,[1] with the help of an amanuensis (secretary), Tertius, who added his own greeting in Romans 16:22.[2]

In this chapter, Paul asks a series of rhetorical questions in order to develop his theological message,[3] and quotes extensively from the Hebrew Bible.[4] Theologian Albert Barnes suggests that "the design of the first part of this chapter is to answer some of the objections which might be offered by a Jew to the statements in the previous chapter".[5]


The original text was written in Koine Greek. This chapter is divided into 31 verses.

Textual witnesses[edit]

Some early manuscripts containing the text of this chapter are:

Old Testament references[edit]

The Oracles of God[edit]

The chief advantage, or benefit, or responsibility, or superiority [9] of the Jewish people is their possession of the Hebrew Bible(Greek: τα λογια του θεου, ta logia tou theou, "the very words of God" in verse 2 New International Version). Traditional translations (the Geneva Bible, King James Version and American Standard Version) refer to the "oracles of God". The Jewish "advantage" (Greek: το περισσον, to perissov) is really an act of entrustment (Romans 3:2).

Verse 2[edit]

Much in every way! First of all, the Jews have been entrusted with the very words of God.[10]

Nonconformist theologian Matthew Poole stated that "to the Jews were credited, or given in custody, the Holy Scriptures". Stephen, whose martyrdom Paul had witnessed before his conversion, called the scriptures the "living oracles" (Greek: λογια ζωντα, logia zonta).[11]

Slanderous criticisms[edit]

In verse 8, Paul refers to slanderous accusations made by "some people" [12] that believers say “Let’s do evil that good may result”.

Bishop Charles Ellicott suggests that these accusers might have been the Jews or "the Judaizing party";[13] Barnes says it is "doubtless" that they were Jews;[14] the Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges argues that they were Paul's "inveterate adversaries in the Church".[15]

The Revelation of God's Righteousness (3:21–26)[edit]

This section (extending to verse 31) revisits 'the grand theme', "the righteousness of God", which is introduced in the Thanksgiving part of chapter 1.[16] Comprising one paragraph, verses 21–26 is called by Stuhlmacher as 'the heart of the letter to the Romans',[17] stating that 'the divine character—faithful, gracious, forgiving, and merciful—has been revealed in Jesus Christ, specifically in his death as "a sacrifice for sin effective through faith".[16] With that actions, 'altogether apart from human initiative', God has fulfilled 'what God always intended to do' ('attested by the law and the prophets') 'and so is proved righteous'.[16]

Verse 23[edit]

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;[18]

Verse 25[edit]

whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed[21]

"Propitiation" is translated from the Greek word hilasterion, which specifically means the lid of the Ark of the Covenant.[22] The only other occurrence of hilasterion in the New Testament is in Hebrews 9:5, where the KJV & NASB both translate it as "mercy seat".

Justification by faith – a conclusion[edit]

Verse 28[edit]

Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.[23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hill 2007, p. 1084.
  2. ^ Donaldson, Terence L. (2007). "63. Introduction to the Pauline Corpus". In Barton, John; Muddiman, John (eds.). The Oxford Bible Commentary (first (paperback) ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 1077. ISBN 978-0199277186.
  3. ^ There are 15 rhetorical questions according to the New International Version translation
  4. ^ There are 9 biblical references: see Cross references
  5. ^ Barnes' Notes on Romans 3, accessed 7 September 2016
  6. ^ a b Kirkpatrick 1901, p. 839.
  7. ^ a b c d Kirkpatrick 1901, p. 838.
  8. ^ a b Kirkpatrick 1901, p. 840.
  9. ^ Interlinear Bible
  10. ^ Romans 3:2 NIV
  11. ^ Acts 7:38
  12. ^ Romans 3:8 in International Standard Version
  13. ^ Ellicott's Commentary for Modern Readers on Romans 3, accessed 17 September 2016
  14. ^ Barnes' Notes on Romans 3, accessed 7 September 2016
  15. ^ Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges on Romans 3, accessed 17 September 2016
  16. ^ a b c Hill 2007, p. 1092.
  17. ^ Stuhlmacher, P. (1994), Paul's Letter to the Romans: A Commentary, trans. S. J. Hafemann. Louisville, Ky: Westminster/John Knox. p. 57; apud Hill 2007, p. 1092
  18. ^ Romans 3:23 KJV
  19. ^ Greek Text Analysis: Romans 3:23. Biblehub
  20. ^ Exell, Joseph S.; Spence-Jones, Henry Donald Maurice (Editors). On "Romans 3". In: The Pulpit Commentary. 23 volumes. First publication: 1890. Accessed 24 April 2019.
  21. ^ Romans 3:25 NKJV
  22. ^ Strong's Greek Dictionary G2435
  23. ^ Romans 3:28 NKJV
  24. ^ Englishman's Concordance - λογιζόμεθα
  25. ^ Ellicott's Commentary for Modern Readers on Romans 3, accessed 8 September 2016
  26. ^ Gill's Exposition on Romans 3, accessed 8 September 2016


External links[edit]