The Road to Hell is Paved With Good Intentions

Is this quote in the Bible? And whether it is in the Bible or not, is it true?

The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

If our hearts and intentions are good and true, are we bound for Hell? Then why should we try to do the right thing? Why follow God? Why accept and serve Jesus Christ? Are not all of our actions based upon our intentions? Or, is this quote indicative of human hypocrisy? Many people outwardly claim good intentions, but inwardly are sinful and self-serving?

The origin of this quote is likely from Saint Bernard of Clairvaux in the 10th Century AD originally quoted as “Hell is full of good intentions or desires.” It has evolved over the centuries and today’s version of “The road to Hell…” is typically attributed to John Ray in 1670.

What do you think it means?


The Road to Hell is Paved With Good Intentions — 14 Comments

  1. What does human concept have to do with our eternal destiny? St Bernard should have his statement(s) elaborated. At this juncture, it goes to further reinforce numerous Bliblical quotes, at least ,on this thought of one believer e.g. St Bernard, that divine convictions well-up from God Himself alone. Proverbs 14:12; 16:2, 25 prove just as real to human experience. King Solomon’s wisdom poured out from God’s revelations, the which we can glean eternal truths, he being God’s vessel, his writings became the believers’ ultimate reference to all manner of human’s final appeal on truth, righteousness and justice. Ecclesiastes 12:14 wrapped up the issue of all question concerning good, right and justice against evil, unrighteousness and iniquity, God remains the judge of man’s final appeal.

  2. When we live by our human intentions, we are destined for failure because our actions are not spirit led. If our actions are driven by God’s will, we will have favor because our flesh driven intentions (no matter how noble) are no longer impeding us.

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  4. I am guilty of this type of thinking more often than I’d like to admit. I have great intentions many times, but do not always follow through with them. I think we’re all a work in progress in that regard. Some more than others. It’s what you actually DO in a positive light that makes the most difference in the world. Not what you’d like to get around to doing.

  5. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Join the crowd,I think we all fall short of what we intend. Even the Apostle Paul said “I do those things which I shouldn’t, and do not do those things that I should” (paraphrase). But you are right, it’s about taking those good intentions and turning them into good actions. Let’s lose the excuses.

  6. My view is that it has to do with an expected outcome and what is in a persons heart, which only God knows. Is the person making some kind of attempt to influence others? If so, the test is not whether it sounds good, but is it good?

  7. It means that Salvation is by faith in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. No good works or good intentions can earn our way to heaven.

  8. Mike Curtin is right! God’s ways are not our ways and when we operate by our own understanding we can get things seriously wrong even though our intentions may be honourable in our sight.
    I believe that is what is happening today when we think we know better than God with regard to Marriage and Abortion etc

  9. The road to Hell is paved with good intentions. When “Uzza put out his hand to hold the ark, because the oxen nearly upset it.” He had good intentions. Uzza was just trying to protect the ark from falling, but he was struck dead by God because he violated the law, and the punishment for what he did was death. Uzza had good intentions. It doesn’t mean that everybody with good intentions will go to Hell, but by following your “good intentions” over God’s law, may be a sign post that, that is where you’re headed. There will be “good” people in Hell; well, good by “our” standards. There really is none “good” but Christ Jesus. For ALL have sinned and come short of the Glory of God. And through Him alone are we able to have the penalty for our sin paid.

  10. A friend of mine told a lot of gossip based on lies and damaged someone badly and destroyed a lot of relationships. He feels somewhat vindicated as he says I didn’t mean to do it. (The devil made me do it?) What a joke. So many people use this kind of thinking to excuse outright evil and sin. I am one who believed that was in the Bible as a former pastor had taught that. But any Christian should realize that our intentions do in no way excuse our evil deeds.

  11. I have contemplated this thought a bit and would venture that something that is good or ok is good enough for hell. For heaven you need not just good which may get you close to a victory but the best, or that good is enough for survival but life requires more that survival and the only value that can be eternal must be intrisic which could loosely translate as true.

    Ergo road to hell paved with good intentikns. Heaven pave with the best and true of intentions.

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