Romans 7:15 “For that which I do I ALLOW NOT”



Another word in the King James Bible that is frequently criticized as being an erroneous translation is found in Romans 7:15 where we read: “For that which I do I ALLOW NOT: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.”


The Bible critics tell us the Greek words “ou ginosko” should be translated as “I KNOW not” or “I do not UNDERSTAND”. The NKJV, NASB, NIV say: “For what I am doing, I DO NOT UNDERSTAND. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.”


Several other versions say: “For what I do, I KNOW not.”


First of all, it is readily admitted that the verb “ginosko” usually means “to know”, but as with most words in English and in Greek or Hebrew, single words can have a multiplicity of meanings depending on the varying contexts.


Not only is the King James Bible reading of “that which I do I allow not” not an error, but it is far more accurate and does not create a contradiction, as many of the modern versions do.


Other Bible translations both foreign and English, as well as several Bible commentators and lexicons agree with the meaning found in the King James Bible of Romans 7:15.


Liddell and Scott’s unabridged Greek- English lexicon, and the abridged edition of 1887 both tell us that the Greek verb ginosko can have the meaning of “to determine, to decree that, or to decide upon”.


Albert Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament comments on Romans 7:15: “I ALLOW NOT, I DO NOT APPROVE; I do not wish it; the prevailing bent of my inclinations and purposes is against it. Greek, “I know not.” See the margin. The word know, however, is sometimes used in the sense of approving. Revelation 2:24, “Which have not known [approved] the depths of Satan.” Compare Psalms 101:4, “I will not know a wicked person.” Jeremiah 1:5. “


John Gill comments: For that which I do, I ALLOW NOT…”The apostle having cleared the law from the charge of being the cause either of sin or death, and taken the blame to himself, proceeds to give an account of the struggle and combat he found in himself between the flesh and spirit; “that which I do, I ALLOW NOT”. That which he did was evil, since HE ALLOWED NOT OF IT; but this is to be understood not of any notorious crime committed by him, nor of a sinful course of life… but of internal lusts, the workings of corruptions in his heart, and which are real actions of the mind, together with the various frailties and infirmities of life: when that apostle says that what he did, (ginwskw) , “I know not”: HIS MEANING IS, NOT THAT HE WAS UTTERLY IGNORANT OF THEM, of their nature and operations; that he was insensible of their motions, and unconcerned about them; for his sense of them, and concern for them, are expressed by him in the strongest terms, “I know”, “I find”, “I see”, “O wretched man”… (Romans 7:18,21,23,24) … RATHER, “I DO NOT APPROVE” OF THEM, I dislike, abhor, and detest them; I cannot excuse or palliate them, but must condemn them; so words of knowledge in the Hebrew language are expressive of love, liking, and approbation; see (Psalms 1:6) (Hosea 8:4) (Genesis 18:19) ; on which last text, “I know him”, says Jarchi, “it is the language of love”, or a phrase expressive of strong affection; and so here, I know not, I do not like, love, and approve of these things, or I DO NOT “ALLOW” OF THEM, and indulge myself in them, I loathe them and myself for them.”



Adam Clarke comments: ” What I am continually labouring at I ALLOW NOT, ou ginwskw, I do not acknowledge to be right, just, holy, or profitable.”


Matthew Poole’s English Annotations on the Holy Bible – “I ALLOW NOT: in the Greek it is, I know not. Many times I am surprised and overtaken, not knowing or considering what I do. OR, WHEN HE SAYS, I KNOW NOT, HIS MEANING IS (AS OUR TRANSLATION RENDER IT), I ALLOW OR APPROVE NOT.”


Burkitt’s Expository Notes – “These words are an argument to prove what the apostle had asserted in the foregoing verse; namely, That he was held under the power of sin unwillingly, because HE DID NOT ALLOW OR APPROVE OF ANY EVIL WHICH HE DID contrary to the holy law of God, but did hate and abominate it, was displeased with it, and with himself for it.”




Agreeing with the King James Bible reading of “For that which I do I ALLOW NOT” are the Bishops’ Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible of 1587, The Beza New Testament 1599, The Bill Bible 1671, Daniel Mace’s N.T. 1729, the Worsley Version 1770, The Thompson Bible 1808, Webster’s 1833 translation, The Commonly Received Version 1851, The Revised New Testament 1862, The Revised English Bible 1877, The Dillard N.T. 1885,  The Tomson N.T. 2002 – “I ALLOW NOT”, The Evidence Bible 2003, The Revised Geneva Bible 2005, The Bond Slave Version 2009, Hebraic Transliteration Scripture 2010 – “that which I do I ALLOW NOT”



Foreign Language Bibles  that read like the King James Bible.


The Italian Riveduta 1927 – “Perché io NON APPROVO quello che faccio” = I DO NOT APPROVE OF what I do.


The Spanish Cipriano de Valera 1602 – “Porque lo que hago NO LO APRUEBO” – “I DO NOT APPROVE of what I do”


The French Martin Bible 1744 and French Ostervald 1996 – “ Car je N’APPROVE point ce que je fais” = “I DO NOT APPROVE of what I do”


The Portuguese Las Sagradas Escrituras, and the Portuguese Corrigida 2009 – “Porque o que faço não o APROVO” – “I do NOT APPROVE of what I do.”


Rotherham’s 1902 Emphasized Bible, based on the Alexandrian texts like the NASB, NIV, agrees with the meaning found in the King James Bible saying: “For, that which I am working out, I DO NOT APPROVE, – for not, what I wish, the same I practice, but, what I hate, the same I do.”





Also reading this way are John Wesley’s N.T.1755, Haweis N.T. 1795, The Revised Translation 1815, the Living Oracles 1835, The Pickering N.T. 1840, The Longman Version 1841, The Hussey N.T. 1845, The Boothroyd Bible 1853, the Sawyer N.T. 1858 agree, Far Above All Translation 2011 with the KJB meaning: “For that which I do I APPROVE NOT; for what I would, I do not, but what I hate, that I do.



Darby’s 1870 translation is similar to the KJB with: “For that which I do, I DO NOT OWN; for not what I will, this I do; but what I hate, this I practice.”


Interlinear Greek N.T. 1997 (Larry Pierce) – “for what I work out I DO NOW OWN”


The Lawrie Translation 1998 – “For what I do I DO NOT MEAN”


The Resurrection Life New Testament 2005 – “I inexplicably FIND MYSELF UNABLE TO DO what I know to be right”


Conservative Bible 2011 –  “I do the THINGS I AM AGAINST”


The Far Above All Translation 2011 -“I DO NOT APPROVE of what I do”


The translations like the NKJV, NIV, NASB, RSV and others that translate this phrase as “that which I do I DO NOT UNDERSTAND” (or KNOW) miss the point and create a contradiction in the context of Romans chapter Seven.


Paul clearly ‘KNEW” and “understood” what was happening to him and why. He explains it in great detail saying such things as: “For we know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold under sin”; “now it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not…it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.” Romans 7:14-23.



Again, the King James Bible is right and many modern versions are wrong.


If those who profess to believe in the promises of God to preserve His inspired and inerrant words in a Book here on this earth, and believe that God has providentially given us the best Hebrew and Greek texts that underlie the King James Bible – in other words, those who say they are “Textus Receptus men” – , then they should be consistent in their faith. God not only directed the King James Bible translators in their selection of the correct underlying Greek and Hebrew texts, but also in the ENGLISH TRANSLATION of those texts.

It is the King James Bible that is the Final Written Authority, not the “the Greek Textus Receptus”, nor the lexicons, the commentators, and certainly not your own personal opinions and preferences, or mine. 


The English text of the King James Bible is the final authority and it is always right. Get used to it.