Romans 3:9-20

After writing apologetically Paul finally arrives at quoting scripture for his defense before the Romans.



The Debate between Paul and his “companion” continues with two questions:

1)      What then?

2)      Do we have an advantage?

Chapter two the Jews are sinful, but in chapter three they do have an advantage.

Does that advantage place them in a better position than the Gentiles?  “Not at all.”

Just being “called” or “chosen” or “having the word” or the “temple worship” does not   save you.


Gentiles and Jews (or, all people from Adam) are under sin.


“Under sin” this does not say that all  men sin.  It is worse!  All men are “under sin”. 

All of mankind is in bondage to sin.  They can not escape.



This begins the longest run of OT scriptures in the NT. 

The rabbis referred to this as “pearl-stringing.”


The universality of sin.  Affects the:

  • Human intellect
  • Emotions
  • Volition


Corrupted by sin:

  • Man’s words (13-14)
  • Man’s acts (15-17
  • Man’s attitudes (18)


Univeral Bondage to Sin

In regard to

  • Race 3:9
  • Religion 3:10-12
    • Men are unrighteous
    • Men are unreasonable
    • Men are unresponsive
    • Men are unrepentant






The Necessity of an Honest Evaluation

You are not doing anyone a favor by not telling them their condition, their diagnosis, or the penalty for their crime.

  • An Accountant needs to reveal that the financial condition of the company is bad.
  • A Doctor needs to explain to the patient that the disease is serious.
  • A Criminal on probation needs to know the results of a probation violation.
  • The same is true for mankind. . . He must be told about his sinful condition.

The good news, unlike the bankrupt, the terminal, or the lifer in prison, there is an answer to our sin problem.



3:10-12 No one is Righteous

This is Psalm 14:1-3.  Psalm 53:1-3 is similar.

Paul changes “no one who does good” to “no one who is righteous”  which lays the foundation for the theme of the book: Righteousness.


No one is in right standing with God.  No one can be in right standing before God by man’s efforts.


No One Who Seeks God

No one seeks God w/o God prompting him John 6:44-46

People can and should seek God (Acts 17:26-27)

Man is responsible to seek God.

Jeremiah 29:13, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart.”



Use of words:

  • None  
  • all  
  • not even one


Sin has affected every part of man’s being.

Total includes:

  • Every part of man
  • Every man



3:13-14 Sins of the Mouth: Wicked Words

Describes sin and builds a case for the statement that “no one is in right standing with God.”


These verses describe the sinfulness of human speech in the order in which speech is formed:

1)      The throat – the corruption that is inside of man.  Jesus said what comes out of a man makes him unclean.

2)      The tongue

3)      The lips

4)      The Mouth




Feet – Man’s Wicked Ways



Results of their lifestyles and their plans







The Jew may say that these verses where not referring to God’s nation of Israel.  They might say they are a description of Gentiles.


Paul says who else is God writing to in the Law than those to whom the law was given.

He says “yes, these verses are God’s description of the Jews and the Gentiles.”



The Jews were a Test Case Representing the Whole World

Because the Jews failed with all their advantages the rest of the world is assumed to have done the same. 

Since the Jews failed, the whole world is accountable.

Just like when Adam failed, the whole world failed.



The purpose of the law was to expose sin and man’s inability Galatians 3:24

John 7:19, “Has not Moses given you the law?  Yet not one of you keeps the law.”


The Law of Moses will not save anyone.

Legalism, obedience, good deeds, rituals, etc will not save you.


Fighting Temptation Reveals Our Weakness

The Law makes us try to be righteous but we fail.

Only a man who has tried to be good knows he can’t.

Only a man who has fought temptation knows he is weak.


If a man never tried to do what was right and if a man never fought a temptation he would not really know how deep sin was in him and how “under sin” he is