What does Romans 16:19 mean?
ESV: For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil.
NIV: Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I rejoice because of you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.
NASB: For the report of your obedience has reached everyone; therefore I am rejoicing over you, but I want you to be wise in what is good, and innocent in what is evil.
CSB: The report of your obedience has reached everyone. Therefore I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise about what is good, and yet innocent about what is evil.
NLT: But everyone knows that you are obedient to the Lord. This makes me very happy. I want you to be wise in doing right and to stay innocent of any wrong.
KJV: For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.
NKJV: For your obedience has become known to all. Therefore I am glad on your behalf; but I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil.
Verse Commentary:
Paul has been warning the Christians in Rome just how dangerous false teachers can be. He has urged them to be on the lookout for anyone who will teach a distorted version of Christian truth, as well as to avoid such people when they do show up. These liars are very effective, Paul insists, at deceiving those who are naive or innocent.

Now he rushes to say that the Christians in Rome have a stellar reputation for obedience to the genuine truth of the gospel. They have not been misled. By this Paul likely means that they have both trusted in Christ and have set aside sinful lifestyles. Paul rejoices that this is true of them.

Still, Paul wants them to be more than just obedient. He wants them to be wise enough to recognize false teaching when it comes their way. He wants them to know the truth so thoroughly that they immediately recognize lying distortions of it.

Paul also wants for these believers in Rome to continue to be "innocent [about] what is evil." The Greek word here is akeraios, which can also mean "unmixed, pure, or simple." He wants them to continue to avoid sinful practices instead of becoming tainted or scarred by participating in them. Jesus said something similar: "Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves" (Matthew 10:16).
Verse Context:
Romans 16:17–23 includes last-minute instruction from Paul and greetings to those in Rome from the men with him in Corinth. Before closing the letter, Paul urgently warns his readers to be on the watch for false teachers; to avoid them. These people do not serve Christ and will deceive the naive with their distorted version of Christian truth, thus dividing the church. Paul sends greetings from Timothy, his longtime partner and student in ministry. Paul also sends greetings from his host in Corinth and several other friends and co-workers.
Chapter Summary:
The final chapter of Romans contains four sections intended to wrap up the letter. Paul commends the woman who will deliver the letter and then sends greetings to many people he knows in Rome. After last-minute, urgent instruction about false teachers, Paul sends greetings to the Roman Christians from those who are with him in Corinth, including Timothy. Paul closes out the letter with a hymn of praise to the God who has revealed to all the nations of the earth the gospel of salvation by faith in Christ Jesus.
Chapter Context:
Prior verses detailed Paul's plans to visit Rome and asked for prayer. This text concludes his letter to the Christians in Rome with four quick sections. He sends his greetings to a list of people he knows, or at least knows of, in Rome. Paul offers last-minute instruction about false teachers. He sends greetings from those who are with him in Corinth. And he closes out the letter with a beautiful praise hymn to the God who has revealed the mystery of the gospel of Jesus to all nations so that all might obey faith in Jesus.
Book Summary:
The book of Romans is the New Testament's longest, most structured, and most detailed description of Christian theology. Paul lays out the core of the gospel message: salvation by grace alone through faith alone. His intent is to explain the good news of Jesus Christ in accurate and clear terms. As part of this effort, Paul addresses the conflicts between law and grace, between Jews and Gentiles, and between sin and righteousness. As is common in his writing, Paul closes out his letter with a series of practical applications.
Accessed 6/22/2024 6:10:47 PM
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