Romans 3:19 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Romans 3:19, NIV: "Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God."

Romans 3:19, ESV: "Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God."

Romans 3:19, KJV: "Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God."

Romans 3:19, NASB: "Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God;"

Romans 3:19, NLT: "Obviously, the law applies to those to whom it was given, for its purpose is to keep people from having excuses, and to show that the entire world is guilty before God."

Romans 3:19, CSB: "Now we know that whatever the law says, it speaks to those who are subject to the law, so that every mouth may be shut and the whole world may become subject to God's judgment."

What does Romans 3:19 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul sums up his case that the law cannot protect anyone from God's judgment of their own, personal sinfulness. Anyone who believes that is deceiving themselves. Paul writes that the law speaks to those under the law. And what does it say? It says, "You can't keep the law." This was the conclusion supported by Paul's prior references to the Old Testament: that nobody lives a life of "righteousness" in comparison to the standards of God.

In other words, Moses' law, God's gift to Israel, does not provide any protection from God's eternal judgment for human sin. Not for Jews, nor for Gentiles. Instead, the law reveals just how much we humans sin. It forces us to agree with God that we deserve His anger because we now understand all of the ways in which we have sinned against Him.

In this way, Paul writes, it shuts every mouth. Put another way, the law takes away all of our arguments and excuses that we are worthy of God's approval on our own merits. Clearly, the law shows us, we are not.

This is true for every individual in the "whole world," Paul declares. Both Jews and Gentiles will be held accountable to God. On our own, all of us would be found to be guilty, to be "under sin." Soon, though, Paul will show us the opportunity to be declared righteous before God through faith in Christ. He's not quite there yet, however.