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Minnetonka

Monday
Evening
Bible Study
The Apostle
Paul’s Letter to
the Romans
Paul’s Thesis Statement
In Romans 1:16-17
What does Paul mean with
his expression
“the righteousness of
God”?
NASB
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for

salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is

written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith.


NIV
16 Iam not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the
salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
17 For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness

that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live
by faith.”
NRSV
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation

to everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it
the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written,
“The one who is righteous will live by faith.”
CPV
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is God’s power for salvation to

everyone who believes, first to the Jew and then to the Greek. 17 For God’s
righteousness is revealed in it from faithfulness to faithfulness, just as it is
written, “The Righteous One shall live from faithfulness.”
“Righteousness of God”
Interpretive Viewpoints
1a “Righteousness” as a moral
quality that belongs to God (“of
God” is a possessive; God’s
1 God’s own “righteousness” righteousness)
1b “Righteousness” as God’s
[a statement about God] saving power (“of God”
denotes the subject of implied
action)

2a “Righteousness” as a
righteous standing “from God”
2 A “righteousness” given (“of God” expresses origin)
to humans
2b “Righteousness” as a
[a statement about human quality “that counts before
status] God” (“of God” denotes the
object of implied action)
The Righteousness of God
1 “Righteousness before God.” Righteousness
denotes a righteousness that counts before
God.
2 “Righteousness from God.” Righteousness is
God’s gift to humans.
3 “Righteousness belonging to God.” “God’s
righteousness.” Righteousness of God is a
quality or characteristic belonging to God.
Paul’s Thesis
For I am not ashamed of the gospel,
because it is God’s power for salvation
to everyone who believes, to the Jew
first and then for the Greek. For in it
God’s righteousness is revealed from
faithfulness to faithfulness, just as it is
written, “But the Righteous One shall
live from faithfulness.”
Paul’s Thesis
For I am not ashamed of the gospel,
for it is God’s power for salvation
to everyone who believes,
first to the Jew
and then to the Greek.
For in it God’s righteousness is revealed
from faithfulness
to faithfulness,
just as it is written,
“The Righteous One shall live
from faithfulness.”
For from heaven God’s wrath is being revealed
against all godlessness
and unrighteousness of humans. . . .
Romans 1:16-17 with 1:18
Paul’s Thesis Statement
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel,
(16) because it is God’s power
for salvation
to everyone who believes,
to the Jew first and
then for the Greek,
(17) because in it God’s righteousness is being revealed
from faithfulness
to faithfulness,
as it is written,
`But the Righteous One shall
live from faithfulness.’
(18) God’s wrath is being revealed from heaven
against human godlessness and unrighteousness
who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.
Observations on Paul’s use of
dikaiosunē theou in Romans
• Paul never uses “the righteousness of God” as the object of the verbs “to
give” or “to receive” nor is ”the righteousness of God” described as a
“gift”.
• Observe the parallel expressions in 1:16-18:
– “power of God” (God’s power).
– “righteousness of God” (God’s righteousness).
– “wrath of God” (God’s wrath).
• “Righteousness of God” in Paul’s use reflects the OT use of the same and
similar expressions where it is consistently “God’s righteousness.”
• Romans 3:5, the very next use of the identical expression, “the
righteousness of God,” is completely unambiguous in its meaning. Without
any dispute it means—“God’s righteousness”—even in the NIV.
• Romans 3:21-22 repeat the idea of 1:16-17—God’s righteousness is
revealed.
• Romans 3:25-26 confirms that the best translation is “God’s
righteousness.”
• Romans 10:3 also uses the expression, “God’s righteousness,” twice,
God’s Righteousness
How does the gospel reveal God’s righteousness?
In relation to:
1 God’s covenant promise–God
keeps his covenant promise to the
Patriarchs.
2 God’s judgment—God is righteous
to judge.
3 God’s salvation—God fulfills his
promise to bring salvation.
What does Paul mean with
his expression
“from faith to faith”?
NASB
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for

salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is

written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith.


NIV
16 Iam not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the
salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
17 For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness

that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live
by faith.”
NRSV
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation

to everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it
the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written,
“The one who is righteous will live by faith.”
CPV
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is God’s power for salvation to

everyone who believes, first to the Jew and then to the Greek. 17 For God’s
righteousness is revealed in it from faithfulness to faithfulness, just as it is
written, “The Righteous One shall live from faithfulness.”
“From faith to faith”
• “from God’s faithfulness to human
faithfulness” (J. D. G. Dunn & N. T. Wright)
• “from nothing but faith” (D. J. Moo).
• “by faith from first to last” (T. R. Schreiner).
• “from the faith of the old dispensation to the
faith of the new dispensation” (Chrysostom).
• “from God’s faithfulness of old unto God’s
faithfulness in these last days” (Caneday).
Who is “the Righteous One”
(Habakkuk 2:4)?
“the Righteous One”
• A generic reference? “The one who is righteous by faith
shall live” (Luther’s interpretation).
• A specific reference to the only one who is righteous—Jesus
Christ?
– Romans 3:10—”there is no one righteous, not even one.”
– The New Testament explicitly applies the title “the Righteous
One” to Jesus (Acts 3:14; 7:52; 22:14; 1 Peter 3:18; 1 John 2:1;
see also Isaiah 53;11).
• Paul’s use of Habakkuk 2:4 is against taking it as a proof-
text on how one becomes righteous. In Habakkuk 2:4 the
individual mentioned is already righteous.
• Paul’s use of “revealed” is against taking “from faith(fulness)
to faith(fulness)” as a reference to the Christian’s faith.
• A reference to Jesus Christ’s faithfulness? (cf. Romans
3:21-22).
Conclusion
Paul does not formulate his thesis statement in Romans 1:16-17 to
answer the question, “How do humans become righteous?”.
Rather, Paul’s thesis is that the gospel is first and foremost a
message about God and how he has vindicated himself by sending
Jesus Christ, “the Righteous One.”
It is a message that God has revealed to prove himself to be
righteous just as Paul speaks of in Romans 3:4 when he cites
Psalm 51:4—”That you may be justified in your words and that
you should prevail when you are judged.”
Here is a crucial key to what Paul means by “God’s righteousness.”
Paul’s gospel reveals that God has justified himself when he spoke
his promise long ago to Abraham and the patriarchs (cf. Romans
15:7-13). When God is judged concerning his covenant promise, he
prevails precisely because he is concerned to prove himself
righteous, and that he has done in the gospel by appointing his
Son, the Righteous one, to be Son of God (Romans 1:4) and to gain
life by way of his faithfulness to the appointed mission (1:17).