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Romans 3:16

ESV in their paths are ruin and misery,
NIV ruin and misery mark their ways,
CSB ruin and wretchedness are in their paths,
NLT Destruction and misery always follow them.
KJV Destruction and misery are in their ways:

What does Romans 3:16 mean?

Paul is in the middle of quoting from Isaiah 59:7–8. He is demonstrating that all people, Jews and Gentiles alike, are guilty of sin and deserving of God's anger. In previous verses, he quoted from Psalms to show how we use our mouths to express our sinfulness. Now he is using Isaiah's words to show how we use our feet to carry us into sin. The feet are used in Scripture as a metaphor for human actions and intentions. A person goes where their feet go, so when a person's feet rush to violence, it means they are quick to aggression and vengeance.

In the previous verse, Paul agreed with Isaiah that our feet are quick to carry us into bloodshed. Now he continues that where our feet carry us, ruin and misery follow. Isaiah put it even more colorfully, "…desolation and destruction are in their highways."

As stated in Psalm 14—cited in Romans 3:10—evidence that human beings are sinful by nature is everywhere. Every place people have been is touched by ruin and misery, desolation and destruction. Because of our sinfulness, humanity leaves sadness and pain along every path we follow.
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