Re: Rom 1:17

From: Carlton Winbery (
Date: Sat Feb 03 1996 - 01:25:02 EST

Carl Conrad wrote;
>On 2/3/96, John Moe wrote:
>> I have been wrestling with DIKAIOS EK PISTEWS ZHSETAI. I have always
>> taken EK PISTEWS wtih ZHSETAI, but I am wondering why it should not be
>> taken with DIKAIOS. At Gal 3:11 Paul has building his argument on
>> Abraham and quotes Gen 15:6. DIKAIOS EK PISTEWOS is the point he is
>> making there. Is there some gramatical reason that Paul's use of this
>> phrase from Hab. 2:4 should not be taken this way. Since this seems to
>> not be a strick quotation of the Heb or the LXX as we have them, I do
>> not think that either of those should controle the understanding of
>> Paul's N.T. Use.
>> Thanks for any light you can cast.
>By terms of "normal" Greek grammar, EK PISTEWS in Rom 1:17 SHOULD be
>construed with ZHSETAI because it is in predicative position. For it to
>mean "the one who is righteous by faith, it should be written hO EK PISTEWS
>DIKAIOS. It has,in fact, always bothered me that Paul's central doctrine
>appears to be based upon a grammatical misconstruction of his LXX proof
>text as cited. As it stands, it would certainly appear to mean that the one
>who is righteous will live (i.e. eschatological life, although I don't
>think that was intended in the original formulation in Hab.) through faith;
>it does NOT appear to mean that faith makes the person righteous and
>THEREFORE that person will live.

I think that the reason that some commentators have wanted to see the
possibility that the "quote" from Hab. was understood by Paul to be the
"one who is righteous by faith" is that it fits very neatly with the way
some outline Rom. 1-8. Chapters 1-4 indicate that a person is made right
with God by faith apart from law, and chps 5-8 deal with the life of a
person who is right with God.

However, I would agree with Carl that he would surely have written hO EK
he meant. There are many examples where the genitive (ablative) with the
prepositions EK, APO, PARA, or hUPO precedes the verb form with which it is
used. (James 1:13; I John 5:1, Matt. 21:42)

Carlton L. Winbery
Prof. Religion
LA College, Pineville, La

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