Re: Eph. 3:12

From: Eric Weiss (
Date: Wed Jun 12 1996 - 12:12:57 EDT

The issues of whether PISTIS should be translated "faith" or "faithfulness"
and whether the genitive construction means "faith IN Christ" (objective
genitive, i.e., Christ is the object of one's faith) or "faith OF Christ" or
"faithfulness OF Christ" (subjective genitive, i.e., Christ is the subject,
the one who has the faith or faithfulness) -- here as well as in other
places, whether with DIA or with another preposition or even without a
preposition (see, e.g., Galatians, 2:16, 2:20 -- "faith of the son of God")
is decided differently by different commentators and translators. I think
the author of the WORD commentary on Galatians argues for "the faithfulness
of Christ" in Galatians 2:16 (DIA PISTEWS IHSOU CHRISTOU), but Dunn, I
believe, in his commentary on Galatians makes the case that contextually it
means "faith in Christ." I recall that David Allen Black in his BIBLE REVIEW
articles on How To Read New Testament Greek felt that Paul meant
faith/faithfulness OF Christ when he used the genitive construction. I tend
to side with those who view it as an objective genitive, i.e., "faith in/with
respect to Christ." The issue of "faith" vs. "faithfulness" has
repercussions on the translation of Romans 1:17 and other places where
Habakkuk 2:4 is quoted -- the Hebrew text apparently means "faithfulness"
whereas the LXX means "faith" -- however, Geza Vermes translates the Dead Sea
Scrolls Habakkuk commentary quotation of this verse as "faith" [in the
Teacher of Righteousness], so even the Hebrew I guess could be translated

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