Romans 4:14 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Romans 4:14, NIV: For if those who depend on the law are heirs, faith means nothing and the promise is worthless,

Romans 4:14, ESV: For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void.

Romans 4:14, KJV: For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect:

Romans 4:14, NASB: For if those who are of the Law are heirs, then faith is made void and the promise is nullified;

Romans 4:14, NLT: If God's promise is only for those who obey the law, then faith is not necessary and the promise is pointless.

Romans 4:14, CSB: If those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made empty and the promise nullified,

What does Romans 4:14 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul is discussing God's promises to Abraham and his offspring, the Jewish people. These were given by God in Genesis 12:1–3. Those promises, Paul has written, amount to Israel being heirs of the world. Now Paul shows that this inheritance will not come by following the law. First and foremost, those promises were given centuries before the law existed. Paul writes that if the inheritance is to be given to those who follow the law, then faith does not matter. Worse, the promises of God don't matter—because not all of Abraham's descendants had the law!

In other words, Paul has already shown that nobody can keep the law. All have sinned and fallen short of God's glory (Romans 3:10; 3:23). So if God's promises to Israel are only for those able to follow the law, those promises will not be given. When law is a requirement for salvation, faith serves no purpose.