Romans 7:19 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Romans 7:19, NIV: For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing.

Romans 7:19, ESV: For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.

Romans 7:19, KJV: For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.

Romans 7:19, NASB: For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.

Romans 7:19, NLT: I want to do what is good, but I don't. I don't want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.

Romans 7:19, CSB: For I do not do the good that I want to do, but I practice the evil that I do not want to do.

What does Romans 7:19 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

In the previous verse, Paul declared that nothing good dwells in his flesh. By flesh, he referred to his physical self, his body. He repeats now the pattern he has observed over and over in his life: He doesn't do the good he wants to do, but he keeps doing the evil he does not want to do. Paul is describing an endless battle between good intentions and actual actions.

Is he describing himself as he was before he came to know Christ? Back then, he was attempting to follow the law of Moses. A few Bible scholars believe Paul is painting the picture of what it is like to live under the law without the ability to keep the law. Other Bible scholars think Paul is describing the experience of all Christians struggling to stop sinning and to do the good they are capable of doing in the power of the Holy Spirit now that they are no longer slaves to sin. Both harmonize with the experience of believers and the information presented in the rest of the New Testament.

Based on analysis of the Greek language alone, it seems more likely that Paul is speaking of his current experience.