Romans 5:20
Parallel Verses
New International Version
The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more,

New Living Translation
God's law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God's wonderful grace became more abundant.

English Standard Version
Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,

New American Standard Bible
The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,

King James Bible
Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:

Holman Christian Standard Bible
The law came along to multiply the trespass. But where sin multiplied, grace multiplied even more

International Standard Version
Now the Law crept in so that the offense would increase. But where sin increased, grace increased even more,

NET Bible
Now the law came in so that the transgression may increase, but where sin increased, grace multiplied all the more,

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
But there was the introduction to The Written Law that sin would increase, and wherever sin increased, there grace superabounded.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Laws were added to increase the failure. But where sin increased, God's kindness increased even more.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Moreover the law entered that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound,

King James 2000 Bible
Moreover the law entered, that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:

American King James Version
Moreover the law entered, that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:

American Standard Version
And the law came in besides, that the trespass might abound; but where sin abounded, grace did abound more exceedingly:

Douay-Rheims Bible
Now the law entered in, that sin might abound. And where sin abounded, grace did more abound.

Darby Bible Translation
But law came in, in order that the offence might abound; but where sin abounded grace has overabounded,

English Revised Version
And the law came in beside, that the trespass might abound; but where sin abounded, grace did abound more exceedingly:

Webster's Bible Translation
Moreover the law entered, that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:

Weymouth New Testament
Now Law was brought in later on, so that transgression might increase. But where sin increased, grace has overflowed;

World English Bible
The law came in besides, that the trespass might abound; but where sin abounded, grace abounded more exceedingly;

Young's Literal Translation
And law came in, that the offence might abound, and where the sin did abound, the grace did overabound,
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

5:20,21 By Christ and his righteousness, we have more and greater privileges than we lost by the offence of Adam. The moral law showed that many thoughts, tempers, words, and actions, were sinful, thus transgressions were multiplied. Not making sin to abound the more, but discovering the sinfulness of it, even as the letting in a clearer light into a room, discovers the dust and filth which were there before, but were not seen. The sin of Adam, and the effect of corruption in us, are the abounding of that offence which appeared on the entrance of the law. And the terrors of the law make gospel comforts the more sweet. Thus God the Holy Spirit has, by the blessed apostle, delivered to us a most important truth, full of consolation, suited to our need as sinners. Whatever one may have above another, every man is a sinner against God, stands condemned by the law, and needs pardon. A righteousness that is to justify cannot be made up of a mixture of sin and holiness. There can be no title to an eternal reward without a pure and spotless righteousness: let us look for it, even to the righteousness of Christ.

Pulpit Commentary

Verses 20, 21. - Moreover Law entered (rather, came in besides), that the trespass might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound (or, did abound exceedingly): that as sin reigned in death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Here νόμος (though without the article; see under ver. 13) refers to the Mosaic Law, the purpose of which in the economy of redemption is thus intimated, so as to complete the view. It was God's purpose from the first that grace should in the end triumph over sin; but in the mean time law came in (cf. προσετέθη in the cognate passage, Galatians 3:19). For what end? Not in itself to accomplish the purpose, not to interfere with its accomplishment, but as an intervening dispensation to prepare for its accomplishment, by convincing of sin, and making it exceeding sinful, and so establishing the need of, and exciting a craving for, redemption. This intervening preparatory office of the Mosaic Law is set forth more at length in Galatians 3:19-26; and the working of the principle of law to this end in the human consciousness is analyzed in ch. 7. of this Epistle. Additional Note on ver.12The significance of the words "life" and "death," as used in St. Paul's Epistles and elsewhere, demands peculiar attention. They evidently bear a sense in many places different from that of ordinary use; and this in accordance with our Lord's own recorded language, as, for instance, in his memorable words to Martha, given in John 11:25, 26. The following considerations may aid our comprehension of what is meant. The mysterious principle or potency of life, even in the common acceptation of the term, varies not only in degree, but in kind; and the same living organism may be at the same time alive with respect to its own mode of vitality, and dead with respect to some higher one which vivifies others. The plant, while alive with respect to its own kind of life, is dead to the higher life of sentient beings. The brute beast, while alive with respect to mere animal life, is dead, as it were, to the higher life of intelligent man. A whole world of environing influences to which the mind of man responds, so as to live in them, are to the brute as nothing; it may be said to be dead to them. Now, Scripture teaches, and we believe, that there is a spiritual sphere of things above and beyond this visible sphere, which man is capable of apprehending, being influenced by, and living a still higher life than his natural life therein. He is thus capable through the higher and diviner part of his mysterious being, called by St. Paul his πνεῦμα (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:23, Ὑμῶν τὸ πνεῦμα καὶ ἡ ψυχὴ καὶ τὸ σῶμα), when in touch with the Divine πνεῦμα. For man to be in vital correspondence with his spiritual environments is spiritual life; to be out of correspondence with them is spiritual death. And so, as the plant is dead to sentient life, though alive in its own life; or as the brute may be said to be dead to the higher life of man, though alive in mere animal life; so man may be dead as to spiritual life, though alive as to psychical life; and thus "dead while he liveth" (cf. 1 Corinthians 2:14, "The natural man (ψυχικὸς ἄνθρωπος) receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." In other words, he is dead to them). Further, this spiritual life, unlike the psychical life, is ever spoken of as eternal. For it consists in intercommunion of man's immortal part with the spiritual sphere of things which is eternal. Nor does natural death interrupt it; for it is not dependent for its continuance, as is psychical life, on environments from which we are severed by the body's death, but on such as are eternal. Thus, too, we see how it is that eternal life is regarded, not as one that will have its commencement after death, but as one to be enjoyed at present, and to which we are to rise in Christ even now. This idea is notably expressed in our Lord's words above referred to: "I am the Resurrection, and the Life: he that believeth in me, though he die, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die" (John 11:25, 26). Doubtless we are bidden to look forward to a fulness and perfection of the eternal life, of which our present enjoyment of it is but an earnest, in the σῶμα πνευματικόν (1 Corinthians 15:44) in store for us hereafter - cf. "Beloved, now are we children of God, and it is not yet manifested what we shall be," etc. (1 John 3:2) - but still this is regarded as but the consummation of a life already begun. On the other hand, whatever penal consequences of a state of spiritual death may be spoken of as in store hereafter for the wicked, it is regarded as being itself but the continuance of a state of death in which they are before they pass away (cf. Revelation 22:11). In Romans 5:12, etc., to which this note refers, the above view of what is often meant by "death" ought to be kept before us. For, though the apostle seems evidently to be speaking of the natural death that comes to all, he must be taken as regarding it as but the symbol and evidence of the sway of that spiritual death to which all men are now, in their fallen nature, liable. The thoughts embodied in the above note have been derived from, or suggested by, 'Natural Law in the Spiritual World,' by Henry Drummond, F.R.S.E., F.G.S. (Hodder and Stoughton: 1888).

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Moreover, the law entered,.... By "the law" is meant, not the law of nature, much less the law of sin; rather the ceremonial law, which came in over and above the moral law; it entered but for a time; by which sin abounded, and appeared very sinful; and through it the grace of God much more abounded, in the sacrifice of Christ prefigured by it: but the moral law, as it came by Moses, is here intended; which entered with great pomp and solemnity on Mount Sinai; and intervened, or came between Adam's sin and Christ's sacrifice; and also came in besides, or over and above the promise of life by Christ; and may moreover be said to enter into the conscience of a sinner, with the power and energy of the Spirit of God: and the end of its entrance is,

that the offence might abound; meaning either the sin of Adam, he had been speaking of under that name, that that itself, and the imputation of it to his posterity, and also the pollution of human nature by it, together with all the aggravating circumstances of it, might appear more manifest; or sin in general, any and all actual transgressions, which abound through the law's discovering the evil nature of them, and so taking away all excuse, or pretext of ignorance: by prohibiting them, whereby the corrupt nature of man becomes more eager after them; and by accusing, threatening, terrifying, and condemning, on account of them: one view of the apostle in this, doubtless, is to show, that there can be no justification by the law:

but where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: sin has abounded in human nature, in all the individuals of it; and grace has superabounded in the same nature, being assumed by the Son of God, and united to him, who has appeared in it "full of grace and truth", John 1:14, sin has abounded in all the powers and faculties of the soul, in the understanding, will, and affections, of an unregenerate man; but in regeneration, the grace of God much more abounds in the same powers and faculties, enlightening the understanding, subduing the will, and influencing the affections with love to divine things: sin abounded in the Gentile world, before the preaching of the Gospel in it; but afterwards grace did superabound in the conversion of multitudes in it from idols, to serve the living God; and where sin has abounded in particular persons to a very great height, grace has exceeded it, as in Manasseh, Mary Magdalene, Saul, and others.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

20, 21. Moreover the law—"The law, however." The Jew might say, If the whole purposes of God towards men center in Adam and Christ, where does "the law" come in, and what was the use of it? Answer: It

entered—But the word expresses an important idea besides "entering." It signifies, "entered incidentally," or "parenthetically." (In Ga 2:4 the same word is rendered, "came in privily.") The meaning is, that the promulgation of the law at Sinai was no primary or essential feature of the divine plan, but it was "added" (Ga 3:19) for a subordinate purpose—the more fully to reveal the evil occasioned by Adam, and the need and glory of the remedy by Christ.

that the offence might abound—or, "be multiplied." But what offense? Throughout all this section "the offense" (four times repeated besides here) has one definite meaning, namely, "the one first offense of Adam"; and this, in our judgment, is its meaning here also: "All our multitudinous breaches of the law are nothing but that one first offense, lodged mysteriously in the bosom of every child of Adam as an offending principal, and multiplying itself into myriads of particular offenses in the life of each." What was one act of disobedience in the head has been converted into a vital and virulent principle of disobedience in all the members of the human family, whose every act of wilful rebellion proclaims itself the child of the original transgression.

But where sin abounded—or, "was multiplied."

grace did much more abound—rather, "did exceedingly abound," or "superabound." The comparison here is between the multiplication of one offense into countless transgressions, and such an overflow of grace as more than meets that appalling case.

Romans 5:20 Additional Commentaries
Death in Adam, Life in Christ
19For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. 20The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Cross References
Romans 3:20
Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God's sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.

Romans 6:1
What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?

Romans 7:7
What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, "You shall not covet."

2 Corinthians 3:7
Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, transitory though it was,

Galatians 3:19
Why, then, was the law given at all? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was given through angels and entrusted to a mediator.

1 Timothy 1:14
The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
Treasury of Scripture

Moreover the law entered, that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:

the law.

Romans 3:19,20 Now we know that what things soever the law said, it said to them …

Romans 4:15 Because the law works wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.

Romans 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for you are not under the …

Romans 7:5-13 For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by …

John 15:22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they had not had sin: but now …

2 Corinthians 3:7-9 But if the ministration of death, written and engraved in stones, …

Galatians 3:19-25 Why then serves the law? It was added because of transgressions, …


Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?

2 Chronicles 33:9-13 So Manasseh made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to err, and …

Psalm 25:11 For your name's sake, O LORD, pardon my iniquity; for it is great.

Isaiah 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, said the LORD: though your …

Isaiah 43:24,25 You have bought me no sweet cane with money, neither have you filled …

Jeremiah 3:8-14 And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed …

Ezekiel 16:52,60-63 You also, which have judged your sisters, bear your own shame for …

Ezekiel 36:25-32 Then will I sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean: …

Micah 7:18,19 Who is a God like to you, that pardons iniquity, and passes by the …

Matthew 9:13 But go you and learn what that means, I will have mercy, and not …

Luke 7:47 Why I say to you, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she …

Luke 23:39-43 And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, …

John 10:10 The thief comes not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: …

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 Know you not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of …

Ephesians 1:6-8 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he has made us accepted …

Ephesians 2:1-5 And you has he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins…

1 Timothy 1:13-16 Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but …

Titus 3:3-7 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, …

Jump to Previous
Abound Abounded Added Addition Besides Entered Exceedingly Grace Increase Increased Law Moreover Offence Offense Overabound Overflowed Sin Transgression Trespass Worse Wrongdoing
Jump to Next
Abound Abounded Added Addition Besides Entered Exceedingly Grace Increase Increased Law Moreover Offence Offense Overabound Overflowed Sin Transgression Trespass Worse Wrongdoing
Romans 5:20 NIV
Romans 5:20 NLT
Romans 5:20 ESV
Romans 5:20 NASB
Romans 5:20 KJV

Romans 5:20 Bible Apps
Romans 5:20 Bible Suite
Romans 5:20 Biblia Paralela
Romans 5:20 Chinese Bible
Romans 5:20 French Bible
Romans 5:20 German Bible

Alphabetical: abounded added all But came grace in increase increased law might more sin so that The transgression trespass was where would

NT Letters: Romans 5:20 The law came in besides that (Rom. Ro) Christian Bible Study Resources, Dictionary, Concordance and Search Tools

Bible Hub
Romans 5:19
Top of Page
Top of Page