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Rom 3:1-2     In these and the following verses Paul answers several objections to his understanding that the Jews were as guilty as the Gentiles in failing to live up to the light that they had, and therefore equally under condemnation and in need of the righteousness that is by faith.  What is the first objection and Paul’s answer to it?  What is the benefit (to them and to us) of knowing the “oracles” of God?  See Deut 4:7-8, Ez 20:10-11.

Rom 3:3-4     Paul’s opponents who in religious pride supposed that their righteousness was through a legalistic adherence to the Law were arguing that because they and so many others like them had rejected the gospel that it couldn’t be true, for that would mean that God’s promises and faithfulness to the Jews had failed.  How does Paul answer this objection?  What is the context of Paul’s quote in Rom 3:4 from Psalm 51:4?  See Psalm 51:1-4 and its title.  As a powerful king, might David have balked at Nathan’s rebuke for his sin?  And yet did this acknowledged servant of God ever question God’s faithfulness and justice?

Rom 3:5-8     Throughout his ministry Paul had argued that the purpose of the Law was not to provide salvation by obeying it, but to demonstrate the absolute righteousness of God which man in his fallen state could never live up to—and hence draw him to the cross of Christ for salvation through faith.  See Rom 3:20, Gal 3:19,22-24.  However, his opponents argued that if this was the purpose of the Law, then God could not justly judge and inflict wrath upon those sinners who by their failure to keep the law actually demonstrated the righteousness of God.  They reasoned that if their sin commended the righteousness of God, how could they be judged for it?  What did Paul think of this argument, and how does he answer it?

Rom 3:9-18   In Rom 3:2 Paul acknowledged the important advantage of the Jew in terms of the light of revelation; does it then follow that they are therefore better than the Gentiles in terms of their righteousness and justification?  What is the conclusion to Paul’s arguments set forth thus far to the Romans?  Is the unrighteousness of man demonstrated only by his actions?  See Rom 3:13-14.

Rom 3:19-20 In chapter 1 Paul showed that although the knowledge of God is plain to all people from the light of the general revelation of His creation, the Gentiles failed to live up to that light and were therefore accountable to God.  However, without the light of God’s specific revelation found in the Law, would not mankind have complained that its failure was due to an ignorance of God’s explicit requirements?  What then was the purpose of the Law?  What effect ought a true understanding of the Law to have upon a person?  See Job 40:3-5.  How had those Jews who were opposing Paul misunderstood this purpose?

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