Romans 1:22 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Romans 1:22, NIV: "Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools"

Romans 1:22, ESV: "Claiming to be wise, they became fools,"

Romans 1:22, KJV: "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,"

Romans 1:22, NASB: "Claiming to be wise, they became fools,"

Romans 1:22, NLT: "Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools."

Romans 1:22, CSB: "Claiming to be wise, they became fools"

What does Romans 1:22 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

David wrote that the fool says in his heart, "There is no God" (Psalm 14:1). Paul writes here that fools often have something in common: They believe themselves to be wise. This often-cited verse carries profound implications for how we, as human beings, understand our relationship to God.

Paul is describing the downward spiral, falling further away from God, through which humanity naturally descends into unrighteousness. This is true of all of us by nature. It begins with rejecting what we ought to know about God through creation (Romans 1:18–20). Having rejected the idea of God as creator, why would we honor Him or give Him thanks? Having rejected Him as provider and the One who must be worshiped, how could we arrive at any right understanding of the universe?

When you start from false assumptions, you all but guarantee false conclusions. Trying to live as if God is not the sovereign Creator can only lead to disaster. That starts with the way we think and reason. In an attempt to dismiss God, or to explain away all He has shown of Himself, we go to great lengths twisting our minds and our arguments. As a result, while we think of ourselves as "wise," we're really just becoming more and more foolish.

At this point on the downward spiral, or the ladder of unrighteousness, human beings can't even think correctly, and have grown dark in our hearts toward God. It gets worse from there.