Romans 16:19 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Romans 16:19, NIV: Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I rejoice because of you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.

Romans 16:19, ESV: For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil.

Romans 16:19, KJV: For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.

Romans 16:19, NASB: For the report of your obedience has reached everyone; therefore I am rejoicing over you, but I want you to be wise in what is good, and innocent in what is evil.

Romans 16:19, NLT: But everyone knows that you are obedient to the Lord. This makes me very happy. I want you to be wise in doing right and to stay innocent of any wrong.

Romans 16:19, CSB: The report of your obedience has reached everyone. Therefore I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise about what is good, and yet innocent about what is evil.

What does Romans 16:19 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul has been warning the Christians in Rome just how dangerous false teachers can be. He has urged them to be on the lookout for anyone who will teach a distorted version of Christian truth, as well as to avoid such people when they do show up. These liars are very effective, Paul insists, at deceiving those who are naive or innocent.

Now he rushes to say that the Christians in Rome have a stellar reputation for obedience to the genuine truth of the gospel. They have not been misled. By this Paul likely means that they have both trusted in Christ and have set aside sinful lifestyles. Paul rejoices that this is true of them.

Still, Paul wants them to be more than just obedient. He wants them to be wise enough to recognize false teaching when it comes their way. He wants them to know the truth so thoroughly that they immediately recognize lying distortions of it.

Paul also wants for these believers in Rome to continue to be "innocent [about] what is evil." The Greek word here is akeraios, which can also mean "unmixed, pure, or simple." He wants them to continue to avoid sinful practices instead of becoming tainted or scarred by participating in them. Jesus said something similar: "Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves" (Matthew 10:16).