Romans 9:30 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Romans 9:30, NIV: What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith;

Romans 9:30, ESV: What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith;

Romans 9:30, KJV: What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith.

Romans 9:30, NASB: What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, but the righteousness that is by faith;

Romans 9:30, NLT: What does all this mean? Even though the Gentiles were not trying to follow God's standards, they were made right with God. And it was by faith that this took place.

Romans 9:30, CSB: What should we say then? Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained righteousness--namely the righteousness that comes from faith.

What does Romans 9:30 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul's entire argument that God will show His mercy to some Jews and not others has been based on what he has written earlier in Romans. God will show His mercy exclusively and only to those who come to Him by faith in Christ. Up to this point in chapter 9, however, Paul has not anchored this argument to Jesus Himself. He begins to do so now.

First Paul asks his standard question after making a profound and difficult point: What shall we say then? It's another way of saying, "What are the implications of this?" A Jewish person reading or hearing this might ask Paul, "are you saying that Gentiles who didn't even try to become righteous before God have received righteousness from God, anyway, because of their faith?" Paul will ask the second part of his question in the following verse, but the answer to this one is an unequivocal "yes."

Non-Jewish Gentile peoples, for the most part, have never attempted to live under the law of Moses. They may have participated in a variety of religious practices over the generations, but they did not attempt to demonstrate their own righteousness to God by following the law. That law was never given to them, anyway.

Still, a declaration of righteousness is exactly the "stamp" God has given to Gentiles who come to Him by faith in Christ. In His mercy and grace, God has given to them credit for Jesus' righteousness and has accepted Jesus' death as payment for their sin. This means a Gentile's salvation is exactly the same as that of a Jewish person: by grace through faith.

In the following verse, Paul will ask the next shocking question for those Jews who had grown up living under the law.