Romans 9:32 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Romans 9:32, NIV: Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone.

Romans 9:32, ESV: Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone,

Romans 9:32, KJV: Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;

Romans 9:32, NASB: Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though they could by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone,

Romans 9:32, NLT: Why not? Because they were trying to get right with God by keeping the law instead of by trusting in him. They stumbled over the great rock in their path.

Romans 9:32, CSB: Why is that? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone.

What does Romans 9:32 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

In the previous two verses, Paul has stated his bottom-line truth about Gentiles and Jews in the form of a long question. Although the Gentiles never lived under the law of Moses and never pursued God's righteousness in that way, they have received righteousness, and God's mercy with it, through faith in Christ. And, although the Jewish people have endeavored to follow the law for generations, seeking to be made right before God, they have not succeeded in keeping the law nor being made righteous.

Now Paul answers the simple question "why?" with an equally simple answer. He writes that the Jewish people did not seek to be made righteous by faith. They wanted God to declare them righteous based on their works, on their ability to keep the law. As Paul has shown throughout Romans, nobody can keep the law (Romans 3:10; 3:23), so nobody can demonstrate their righteousness to God in that way.

In seeking to be justified by their own works, by their own behavior, Paul writes that most Israelites have "stumbled over the stumbling stone." Paul will make clear in the following verse that this stumbling stone is Jesus Christ.