Re: Rom 1:17

From: David Moore (
Date: Sat Feb 03 1996 - 11:43:36 EST

On Sat, 3 Feb 1996, Carl W. 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'm glad to see that this problem should be addressed and I am eager to
> hear the views of others.

        It may be helpful to take a little more of the context of Habakuk
2:4b. If one takes this context from the Hebrew, rather than the LXX,
the message is that the person whose soul is not upright manifests pride,
but the righteous shall live by his faith. This is in keeping with
Paul's emphasis regarding justification which also contrasts boastful
pride with faithful confidence in God.

        It would seem that "by faith" should be construed with "shall
live" rather than "righteous" (See Keil & Delitzsch, _ad loc._). But I
don't see that this goes against Paul's message, if one allows that the
Apostle had the context of the contrast between the prideful attitude and
faith in mind.

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

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