Romans 3:21 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Romans 3:21, NIV: "But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify."

Romans 3:21, ESV: "But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—"

Romans 3:21, KJV: "But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;"

Romans 3:21, NASB: "But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,"

Romans 3:21, NLT: "But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago."

Romans 3:21, CSB: "But now, apart from the law, the righteousness of God has been revealed, attested by the Law and the Prophets."

What does Romans 3:21 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The words "but now" that begin this verse may be two of the most important words in all of the Bible. Paul has just said in the previous verse that "by works of the law no human being will be justified" in God's sight. Nobody can keep the law perfectly, and no person lives a life worthy of God's righteousness (Romans 3:10). Things sounds bleak for us. If even law-followers cannot escape God's angry judgment, what hope do any of us have?

Finally, Paul turns the corner to the main point of Romans: "But now." Something crucial has changed in human history. The thing none of us could live up to—God's righteousness—has now been manifested, or "made known," apart from the law. In other words, Paul will go on to say, there is hope. There is a path to the righteousness of God which does not require us to keep God's law.

Paul adds that this new thing has not been unexpected. The Law and the Prophets have been pointing to God's righteousness all along. In fact, it was always God's plan to arrive at this "but now" as a way for humans to be saved. Paul describes how to come into this righteousness in the following verse.