Galatians 3:22 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Galatians 3:22, NIV: But Scripture has locked up everything under the control of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.

Galatians 3:22, ESV: But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

Galatians 3:22, KJV: But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.

Galatians 3:22, NASB: But the Scripture has confined everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

Galatians 3:22, NLT: But the Scriptures declare that we are all prisoners of sin, so we receive God's promise of freedom only by believing in Jesus Christ.

Galatians 3:22, CSB: But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin's power, so that the promise might be given on the basis of faith in Jesus Christ to those who believe.

What does Galatians 3:22 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

It would be understandable if someone reading Galatians, to this point, would be confused. Paul has written about the law in a way that might suggest to an outsider that he means the law in itself is somehow evil. With all of his talk about the promises made to Abraham becoming available to everyone through faith in Christ, is he saying that the law was a pointless diversion? Paul clarifies, in the previous verse, that he was not saying that, using a potent phrase: "Kill that idea!" He is showing that God meant all along for the law to show, in part, that human beings cannot keep God's law (Galatians 3:21). Why? We are sinful, and knowing what God wants us to do cannot keep us from doing it. We continue to sin.

In other words, the law cannot give eternal life because no human being can keep the law perfectly. We all break it. The law shows us that we cannot escape our own sin. We are all in prison "under sin," and the law can offer only condemnation. It does not provide a way out. So what is the way out? It comes only through the promise given to Abraham and received by Christ. Those who believe in Christ "by faith" receive the promise, too. Paul will go on to show how receiving that promise, along with Christ, provides for the forgiveness of and escape from our sin.