Galatians 2:16 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Galatians 2:16, NIV: know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.

Galatians 2:16, ESV: yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.

Galatians 2:16, KJV: Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

Galatians 2:16, NASB: nevertheless, knowing that a person is not justified by works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the Law; since by works of the Law no flesh will be justified.

Galatians 2:16, NLT: Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law.'

Galatians 2:16, CSB: and yet because we know that a person is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we ourselves have believed in Christ Jesus. This was so that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no human being will be justified.

What does Galatians 2:16 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Galatians 2:16 is one of the key verses of this book and of all the New Testament. In short, Christianity does not exist without this pivotal truth about "justification."

Many of us tune out when we hear words like "justification." The word sounds theological and "churchy." But we can't be right with God without it, so it matters that we make an effort to understand it. Justified, in Christian theology, simply means "declared righteous." In order to be saved, to be in relationship with a holy God, he must declare us righteous in His eyes. The problem, of course, is that we aren't actually righteous. We are sinful people. So how in the world can God declare us to be righteous? That's the question this verse begins to answer.

Paul immediately eliminates one path to being justified or declared righteous by God. The works of the Law won't work. Period. Nobody can be justified that way. The only way for anyone to be justified before God is faith, belief in Jesus Christ. Earlier in this letter, Paul went so far as to point out that those who claim additional requirements are needed for salvation are not, themselves, saved believers—they are "false brothers" (Galatians 2:4). There is no "other gospel," and whatever is not true is false (Galatians 1:8–9).

Paul began his letter by describing Jesus as the one who gave Himself for our sins. In other words, He died to fully pay the penalty for all of the sins that make us unrighteous, unjustified before God. Now the only way to be justified is to believe in the Jesus who did that for us. Paul declares that though he, like Peter, was Jewish by birth, all people are justified by faith in Christ, not heritage or traditions.