Re: Gal 2:20: EN PISTEI ZW TOU UIOU TOU QEOU, "faithfulness of

David L. Moore (
Sat, 21 Sep 1996 20:00:03 -0400

Carl W. Conrad wrote:
> At 8:17 AM -0500 9/21/96, Jonathan Robie wrote:
> >Some translations speak of (1) "faith *in* the Son of God", others speak
> >of the
> >(2) "faith *of* the Son of God". Most modern translations seem to use
> >*in*. How
> >are they interpreting the genitive?
> >
> >No translation I've looked at translates PISTIS as faithfulness, e.g. (3) "The
> >life I live in the body, I live by the faithfulness of the Son of God, who
> >loved
> >me and gave himself for me." Would this translation be equally valid?
> >
> >Here's the Greek:
> >
> >Gala 2:20 (GNT) zw de ouketi egw zh de en emoi Cristos o de nun zw en sarki en
> >pistei zw th tou uiou tou qeou tou agaphsantos me kai paradontos eauton uper
> >emou.
> >
> >Gala 2:20 (NIV) I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but
> >Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of
> >God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
> >
> >Jonathan
> >
> >P.S. I asked this earlier, but didn't get a response. I thought that focussing
> >the question more tightly might prompt a response.

> Yes, I think there's plenty of reason to understand the genitive here as a
> subjective genitive: it is not faith IN Christ but rather CHRIST's faith
> that saves. By my recollection there have been two threads on B-Greek on
> this subject in the course of the last year or two. My recollection of
> that thread is that, (a) there's a former (perhaps current) subscriber to
> the list who was doing a dissertation on this topic in Australia; (b) David
> Moore and others pointed out a few passages where it is rather difficult to
> sustain this understanding of "faith OF Jesus Christ." I also seem to
> recall that one of the more useful services performed by Luke T. Johnson in
> his NT Introduction text was to argue in favor of the subjective-genitive
> interpretation.

Just a note to say that upon looking through a copy of Karl Barth's
commentary on Romans (in English translation), I found that he consistently
translates genitives of this sort refering to faith in Christ as subjective.
His theology, of course, runs along these same lines, emphasizing God's
transcendence and sovereignty in the work of salvation. Whether this was what
Paul was meaning to convey by these expressions is, however, the question that
must command our attention. With Paul's repeated emphasis on the believer's
being saved by his PISTIS, I tend to understand them as objective. But it is
certainly not just a cut-and-dried matter.

David L. Moore                             Director
Miami, Florida, USA                        Department of Education                     Southeastern Spanish District            of the Assemblies of God