Romans 2:15 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Romans 2:15, NIV: "They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.)"

Romans 2:15, ESV: "They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them"

Romans 2:15, KJV: "Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)"

Romans 2:15, NASB: "in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience testifying and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them,"

Romans 2:15, NLT: "They demonstrate that God's law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right."

Romans 2:15, CSB: "They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts. Their consciences confirm this. Their competing thoughts either accuse or even excuse them"

What does Romans 2:15 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

This verse concludes an idea begun in the previous verse. Paul wrote that Gentiles, though not given God's law or required to follow it, may end up keeping parts of the law "by nature" just by listening to their own conscience. This is similar to his point from the prior chapter that God makes certain ideas obvious to all people (Romans 1:18–20).

Now Paul makes it clear that this doesn't mean Gentiles with this awareness always do the right thing. What it does mean, apparently, is that the same God who gave the Israelites the law also built into the heart of all people a sense of what is right and wrong. It is the human conscience that condemns us when we do wrong and defends us when we do right. The conscience, though, is not a perfect standard. It is flexible. It can be hardened or softened. That's why Paul refers to our "conflicting thoughts," as the conscience talks to us about the morality of our choices.