caricato da Utente3632

Pauls Use of Habakkuk 2 4 in Romans 1 17

annuncio pubblicitario
PAUL’S USE OF HABAKKUK 2:4 IN ROMANS 1:17 AND GALATIANS 3:11
by
Aaron Keith Tresham
Submitted in partial fulfillment of requirements
for the degree of Master of Theology in
New Testament
The Master’s Seminary
Sun Valley, California
May, 2008
Title:
Author:
Degree:
Date:
Adviser:
PAUL’S USE OF HABAKKUK 2:4 IN ROMANS 1:17 AND
GALATIANS 3:11
Aaron Keith Tresham
Master of Theology
May, 2008
Robert L. Thomas
The New Testament use of the Old Testament is an important issue in
hermeneutics. While some claim that the New Testament always uses the Old Testament
according to its grammatical-historical meaning, most admit that the New Testament
occasionally violates the literal meaning of the Old. One’s decision regarding this issue
should not be based on philosophy or theology alone; instead, the exegetical data from
both the Old and New Testaments should be primary. To that end, this thesis examines
Paul’s use of Habakkuk 2:4b in Romans 1:17 and Galatians 3:11.
Habakkuk wrote when many in Judah were being unfaithful to their God. God
told Habakkuk that He would send Babylon to discipline Judah. Habakkuk was startled
by this, since Babylon was even more wicked than Judah. God informed the prophet that
Babylon would indeed face judgment. The Babylonians were proud, self-reliant, and
immoral, but God would deal with them in due time. Until then, the righteous men and
women of Judah needed to remain faithful to their God, no matter what was happening
around them. God promised life to the faithful, even as the nation crumbled around them.
The apostle Paul wrote an exposition of the gospel to the church at Rome. The
central theme of the gospel is salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. The
believer has righteousness imputed to him by God on the basis of faith. For Paul, this was
not an entirely new revelation. Paul read Habakkuk 2:4 and found there the divine
intention to justify sinners, Jew and Gentile alike, on the basis of faith in the risen Lord.
Paul also wrote a letter to the churches of Galatia to defend the gospel’s message
of justification by faith from the false gospel promulgated by Judaizers, who demanded
that Gentile Christians become Jews. Paul defended the gospel using the Scriptures,
citing Abraham as the prime example of justification by faith. Blessing would come to
those who shared the faith of Abraham, but there would be no blessing for those who
depended on the Law for their status before God. The Law brings only a curse, since
none fulfill its requirements completely. Again Paul quoted Habakkuk 2:4 to demonstrate
the connection between righteousness and faith. However, the Law is not based on faith.
By trying to combine faith and works, the Judaizers excluded themselves from the
blessing of God.
Paul’s use of Habakkuk 2:4 does not conform to the meaning of Habakkuk in its
original context. There are many proposed solutions to this apparent problem. Some
scholars violate the principle of single meaning, while others read the New Testament
into the Old. To be faithful to the exegetical data and to sound hermeneutics, the best
solution is “inspired sensus plenior application.” Romans and Galatians provide a new
meaning for Habakkuk 2:4, but the authority for this new meaning rests on the inspired
text of the New Testament, not the Old. The coming of the church age required additional
revelation regarding God’s intention for Habakkuk’s message.
Accepted by the Faculty of The Master’s Seminary
in partial fulfillment of requirements for the degree
Master of Theology
______________________________
Adviser
______________________________
Adviser
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Statement of the Problem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Need for the Study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Procedure for the Study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Limitations of the Study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Assumptions of the Study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
CHAPTER TWO: EXEGESIS OF HABAKKUK 2:4 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Historical Context . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
The Message of Habakkuk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10
Context of Habakkuk 2:4 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11
Habakkuk 2:4 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15
God’s Characterization of the Wicked. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15
Emendation of hNEhi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16
Insertion of a subject . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16
Emendation of hl'P[
. u . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17
Referring all of verse 4 to the righteous . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19
Insertion of a verb . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20
Accepting the Masoretic Text . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21
The meaning of hl'P[
. u . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22
The meaning of hr"vy. " . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24
God’s Promise to the Righteous . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28
The meaning of qyDIc; . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29
The meaning of Atn"Wma/B, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30
Textual issue . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30
Syntactical issue. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30
Lexical issue . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .33
The meaning of hy<xy. I . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .42
Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46
CHAPTER THREE: EXEGESIS OF ROMANS 1:17 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47
Historical Context . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47
Context of Romans 1–3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .48
vi
Romans 1:16 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .49
Romans 1:17 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .50
The Righteousness of God . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .50
God’s righteousness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .50
Righteousness valid before God . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .51
God-righteousness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .52
Saving activity of God . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .52
Arguments from the Old Testament . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .53
Arguments from the context . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .55
Righteousness from God . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .57
Arguments from the context . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .57
Arguments from parallel passages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .58
Arguments from verse 17 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .59
Arguments against this view . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .60
Combination view . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .61
Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .62
Righteousness Revealed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .63
jEk Pivstew" Eij" Pivstin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .64
Views that understand ejk pivstew" in different ways. . . . . . . . . . .65
Views that understand a reference to God or Christ . . . . . . . . . . .66
View that faith is the ground and goal of righteousness . . . . . . . .68
View that understands eij" pivstin as “to believers” . . . . . . . . . . . .69
View that understands a rhetorical formulation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .70
As It Is Written . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .71
Connecting ejk pivstew" with the verb . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .72
Connecting ejk pivstew" with the noun . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .73
Combination view . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .76
Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .77
The Purpose of the Quotation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .78
Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .80
CHAPTER FOUR: EXEGESIS OF GALATIANS 3:11 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .81
Context. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .81
Galatians 3:10 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .83
Unsatisfactory Views . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .83
The curse is upon Israel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .83
Jewish distinctives excluding Gentiles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .85
Potential curse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .86
A curse on Christians who submit to the Law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .87
The Legalist Interpretation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .89
Why Legalists Are Cursed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .91
The judgment of the Law differs from the judgment of God . . . .92
Legalism equals bribery. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .93
vii
An implied premise . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .94
Supporting Arguments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .94
Opposing Arguments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .96
Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .100
Galatians 3:11–12 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .101
The Law Does Not Justify . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .101
Live by faith . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .102
Righteous by faith . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .104
Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .105
The Law Is Not of Faith. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .106
Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .107
CHAPTER FIVE: HABAKKUK 2:4 IN ROMANS AND GALATIANS . . . . . . . . . . .109
Comparison of the New Testament Verses with Habakkuk 2:4 . . . . . . . . . . . . .109
Survey of Modern Approaches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .111
Full Human Intent . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .111
Walter Kaiser . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .112
Critique . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .113
Divine Intent–Human Words . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .117
James I. Packer and S. Lewis Johnson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .117
Elliot E. Johnson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .118
Critique . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .119
Historical Progress of Revelation and Jewish Hermeneutic . . . . . . . . . .120
James Sanders . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .120
Richard Longenecker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .121
Midrash . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .122
Pesher. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .124
Joseph Fitzmyer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .124
Critique . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .125
Canonical Approach and New Testament Priority . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .126
Bruce Waltke . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .127
Douglas Oss . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .128
Critique . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .130
Eclectic Approach . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .132
Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .133
The Preferred Approach . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .134
Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .138
CHAPTER SIX: SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .139
Summary of Exegesis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .139
Habakkuk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .139
Romans . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .140
viii
Galatians . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .141
Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .141
Insufficient Explanations for Paul’s Use of Habakkuk 2:4 . . . . . . . . . . .142
Preferred Explanation for Paul’s Use of Habakkuk 2:4. . . . . . . . . . . . . .143
BIBLIOGRAPHY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .145
CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
One cannot hope to do accurate biblical exegesis without a sound hermeneutical
foundation. Important issues in hermeneutics are raised by the New Testament authors’
use of the Old Testament.
Statement of the Problem
The New Testament authors often used the Old Testament according to its
original, grammatical-historical meaning.1 However, there are times when the New
Testament usage does not seem to conform to the original meaning of the Old Testament
text in its context.2 While some scholars claim that the New Testament authors always
were faithful to the original meaning, others have suggested that the New Testament
authors occasionally used allegorical interpretation, typological interpretation, references
plenior, sensus plenior, or some other approach.3 Some of these scholars suggest that the
church today can utilize the same non-literal methods of interpretation as the New
1
Consider, for example, Isaiah 7:14 in Matthew 1:23, Isaiah 11:1 in Acts 13:23,
Isaiah 40:3–5 in Luke 3:4–6, Isaiah 53:1 in John 12:37–38, and Isaiah 53:9 in 1 Peter
2:22. These and additional examples are suggested by Robert L. Thomas, Evangelical
Hermeneutics: The New Versus the Old (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Kregel, 2002), 243–46.
2
3
A number of examples are provided by Thomas (ibid., 247–51).
For a summary of approaches, see Darrell L. Bock, “Evangelicals and the Use of
the Old Testament in the New, Part 1,” Bibliotheca Sacra 142/567 (July 1985): 209–20,
as well as chapter five of this thesis.
2
Testament authors, while others argue that inspiration makes these approaches nonnormative. There is no reason to assume a priori that every citation was used in the same
way. Thus, each citation must be examined on a case-by-case basis.
This thesis will examine Paul’s use of Habakkuk 2:4b in Romans 1:17 and
Galatians 3:11. This statement is particularly relevant because, as commonly understood,
it is very near the heart of Christian theology. In Romans it often is seen as the theme in
Paul’s explanation of justification by faith.4 Paul also uses it in Galatians when he argues
about the distinction between faith and the Law in the context of justification.5 Thus, the
proper interpretation of these verses is critical.
Before the New Testament uses can be understood, it is necessary to interpret
Habakkuk 2:4b correctly. There are a number of issues to be discussed.6 How should
hn"Wma/ be translated in this verse: “faith” or “faithfulness”? The proper understanding of
qyDIc; (often translated “just” or “righteous”) is also disputed. There is also the question
of whether Atn"Wma/B, modifies “will live” or “just/righteous.” Moreover, a textual issue
must be resolved. The Masoretic Text has “his” hn"Wma/, while the Septuagint has “my”
4
See, e.g., C. E. B. Cranfield, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the
Epistle to the Romans, 2 vols., International Critical Commentary (Edinburgh: T. & T.
Clark, 1975–79), 1:87.
5
See, e.g., Ronald Y. K. Fung, The Epistle to the Galatians, New International
Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1988), 141–46.
6
A useful overview of these issues can be found in George J. Zemek,
“Interpretive Challenges Relating to Habakkuk 2:4b,” Grace Theological Journal 1/1
(Spring 1980): 43–69.
3
hn"Wma/ (referring to God). In both Romans and Galatians Paul omits the pronoun entirely.
There are also challenges in Habakkuk 2:4a, such as the proper understanding of hl'P.[.u
Interpretive challenges are not limited to the Old Testament. The Greek term
pivsti", used in the Septuagint and the New Testament to represent hn"Wma/ in Habakkuk
2:4, can mean “faith” or “faithfulness,” just like its Hebrew counterpart. As in the
Hebrew, the syntactical relationship between the prepositional phrase ejk pivstew" and the
rest of the sentence is uncertain in the Greek. There are also contextual challenges.
Before the citation of Habakkuk 2:4b in Romans 1:17b, Paul mentions dikaiosuvnh qeou'
and ejk pivstew" eij" pivstin. Both phrases have been understood in various ways.7 Paul’s
argument in Galatians 3:10–12 has been difficult for interpreters to follow. The
relationships between Paul’s assertions and the Old Testament scriptures he uses to
support those assertions are not always immediately clear. Some premises necessary to
understand his argument may be only implied.8
Once Habakkuk 2:4, Romans 1:17, and Galatians 3:11 have been properly
interpreted according to their own contexts, it will be possible to decide whether the New
Testament citations of Habakkuk mean the same as in the Old Testament context. If so,
there is no hermeneutical problem. If not, it must be determined how Paul has used
Habakkuk and what hermeneutical implications this might have.
7
A good overview of the interpretive problems in Romans 1:17 is provided by
Cranfield (Romans, 1:91–102).
8
See, e.g., Fung, Galatians, 141–46.
4
Need for the Study
Bible scholars need a comprehensive picture of the New Testament use of the Old
Testament.9 There are many competing theories that claim to provide such a picture.
However, these theories have not been carefully tested for every Old Testament citation
found in the New Testament. This important hermeneutical issue should not be decided
based on theology or philosophy; instead, exegesis of both the Old Testament passages
and their New Testament counterparts should be primary in this discussion. Rather than
molding all citations to a proposed theory, the proper approach is to examine each
passage and then construct a theory that conforms to the exegetical data.
Commentaries on Habakkuk, Romans, and Galatians usually discuss Paul’s use of
Habakkuk. However, the purpose of a commentary is not to answer the types of questions
being posed here. Often the commentator will try to harmonize the New Testament
passage with the Old Testament citation without considering the hermeneutical issues
involved. Thus, a study dedicated solely to understanding Habakkuk 2:4, Romans 1:17,
and Galatians 3:11 will be able to dig deeper into each of these verses, as well as their
relationships to one another and the hermeneutical issues raised by these relationships.
Once these three verses are understood in their own contexts, the various theories
can be tested. Some of the theories will have to be rejected for this particular case. Other
theories may work quite well for these verses but fail in other passages. The
9
Evidence for the importance of this issue is provided by the recent publication of
Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, ed. G. K. Beale and D. A.
Carson (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker, 2007), a work of well over a thousand pages.
5
comprehensive picture scholars desire will not be complete until every citation is
considered. This thesis will aim to place one piece of the puzzle.
Procedure for the Study
After this introductory chapter, this thesis is divided into four chapters. Chapter 2
is dedicated to an exegesis of Habakkuk 2:4. The grammatical-historical method will be
applied in order to determine the original meaning of God as He spoke through the
prophet Habakkuk. This exegesis will be done without considering the New Testament.
There are several interpretive problems that must be solved. Many of these are in verse
4a, even though Paul quotes only verse 4b. Several textual emendations have been
proposed, and each of these must be considered as well.
The third chapter will examine Romans 1:17. Although the original meaning of
Habakkuk 2:4 will have been determined, this meaning will not simply be imported into
the New Testament. The context of Romans will be the driving factor as the exegesis
proceeds. Of particular importance are the interpretive challenges surrounding
dikaiosuvnh qeou' and ejk pivstew" eij" pivstin. This chapter will not try to compare Paul’s
use of Habakkuk in Romans with the original meaning of Habakkuk.
Chapter 4 will be dedicated to Galatians 3:11. Once again, the New Testament
context will be the primary concern. Interpretive decisions will be made based on the
context of Galatians; neither Habakkuk nor Romans will be allowed to trump this
context. It will be particularly important to understand the flow of Paul’s argument in
verses 10–12. A comparison between Paul’s use of Habakkuk in Galatians and the
original meaning of Habakkuk will not be made at this point.
6
The fifth chapter will consider all the exegetical data from the previous chapters
and will compare the original meaning of Habakkuk 2:4 with Paul’s use of this verse in
Romans and Galatians. If Paul’s usage conforms to the grammatical-historical
interpretation of Habakkuk, then there is no hermeneutical problem and no need for
further discussion. On the other hand, if Paul did not use Habakkuk in conformity with its
original meaning, then the various approaches of modern scholars regarding the New
Testament use of the Old Testament will be considered. Inadequate theories will be
rejected, and the most suitable theory will be commended.
Limitations of the Study
No one person could interact with all the scholarly material available today
regarding any verse of the Bible, let alone three verses and their contexts. The following
exegesis will focus on the best commentaries10 and the more detailed studies found in
theological journals. Evangelical scholarship will receive particular attention. The
purpose of this thesis is not to defend against theologically liberal or historical-critical
theories, so some opinions may be discussed only briefly or not at all.
The literature regarding the New Testament use of the Old Testament is also
immense. No attempt to be completely comprehensive will be made. The focus will be on
the primary theories as they relate to Habakkuk 2:4.
10
For selection of commentaries, the present writer depended on James Rosscup,
Commentaries for Biblical Expositors, rev. and enlarged ed. (Sun Valley, Calif.: Grace
Books International, 2004).
7
Assumptions of the Study
The original autographs of the Bible were inspired by God and thus are inerrant.
God intended to communicate clearly through the words of Scripture. Therefore,
Scripture should be interpreted using grammatical-historical principles. The importance
of context and the single-meaning principle are particularly important for this thesis.11
11
On the importance of the single-meaning principle, see Thomas, Evangelical
Hermeneutics, 141–64.
CHAPTER TWO
EXEGESIS OF HABAKKUK 2:4
Before one can understand the use of Habakkuk 2:4b in the New Testament, he
must have the correct interpretation of this verse in its Old Testament context. The
historical context of the prophecy of Habakkuk will be briefly reviewed. Then an
overview of Habakkuk’s message will be given. Next, the near context will be explored
to determine how Habakkuk 2:4 relates to it. Finally, an exegetical analysis of Habakkuk
2:4 will examine the verse’s textual and interpretive difficulties in detail, and a final
conclusion regarding the original meaning of this verse in context will be presented.
Historical Context
Habakkuk does not explicitly provide the historical setting of his prophecy.
However, historical references allow the exegete to infer the most likely historical
context. One notices that Habakkuk opens with a complaint about the violence and
iniquity surrounding him (Hab 1:2–3). The reference in verse 4 to the Law being ignored
indicates that internal strife within Israel or Judah is being referred to. God’s response to
Habakkuk’s complaint (vv. 5–11) indicates that God would send the Chaldeans1 against
the land. This must refer to the Babylonian invasion of the southern kingdom of Judah.
Hebrew ~yDIfK
. .; This term always refers to the Chaldeans, or Babylonians, in
the Old Testament. See O. Palmer Robertson, The Books of Nahum, Habakkuk, and
Zephaniah, New International Commentary on the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, Mich.:
Eerdmans, 1990), 34.
1
9
Thus it may be inferred that Habakkuk ministered to Judah before the Babylonian
invasion, during a time when Judah was not being faithful to their God.
When God introduces His plan to send the Chaldeans in verse 5, He indicates that
the rise of Babylon will be a cause for wonder and surprise for Habakkuk. On the other
hand, verses 6–7 indicate that the Babylonians already have begun to conquer other
nations, so that they already are feared. Thus, Habakkuk must have received his vision at
a time when Babylon was not yet threatening Judah but had begun to assert itself. Thus
Habakkuk probably received his oracle after the ascension of Nabopolassar in 626 BC,
when the Babylonian empire began its ascent, and before the battle of Carchemish in 605
BC,
when Nebuchadnezzar won a decisive victory over the Assyrians and their Egyptian
allies, ending the Assyrian empire and making Babylon the dominate force in the region.
The wickedness of Judah referred to in verses 2–4 does not fit into the reforming
reign of Josiah, so this places Habakkuk after the death of Josiah in 609 BC. This, taken
with the above dates, places the prophecy of Habakkuk fits into the period between 609
and 605 BC.2 This makes Habakkuk a contemporary of Nahum and Zephaniah. These
2
Some scholars would favor slightly different dates, but most would place
Habakkuk around the end of the seventh century BC. “The majority of OT scholars would
probably date a large portion of the book of Habakkuk in the period between 612 and 587
B.C.” (Ralph L. Smith, Micah–Malachi, Word Biblical Commentary [Waco, Tex.: Word,
1984], 94). For example, a date between 609 and 597 is given by Mária Eszenyei Széles,
Wrath and Mercy: A Commentary on the Books of Habakkuk and Zephaniah, trans.
George A. F. Knight, International Theological Commentary (Grand Rapids, Mich.:
Eerdmans, 1987), 3–5, and a date between 605 and 603 is suggested by Robert D. Haak,
Habakkuk, Supplements to Vetus Testamentum 44 (Leiden, Neth.: E. J. Brill, 1992), 133.
10
three prophets affirm the sovereignty of Yahweh over the nations, the ultimate judgment
of the wicked, and the deliverance of the righteous.3
The Message of Habakkuk
Habakkuk divides easily into three units. The first is a complaint by the prophet,
along with God’s answer (1:1–11). The next unit is a second complaint, again followed
by God’s response (1:12–2:20). The final unit is a psalm of praise by Habakkuk (3:1–19).
After the opening superscription (1:1), the prophet brings his first complaint before God
(vv. 2–4). Habakkuk sees wickedness reigning in the land of Judah, and he asks God how
long He will tolerate the situation before He does something about it. God responds in
verses 5–11. His plan is to punish unrighteous Judah by bringing in the Chaldeans. To
Habakkuk, God’s solution is worse than the original problem. In his second complaint
(1:12–2:1), he questions the justice of God’s plan. Although Judah was not keeping the
Law, surely the Chaldeans were even worse. How could a just God use the wicked
Chaldeans to punish the relatively more righteous Judah (1:13)? God assures Habakkuk
that the Chaldeans will indeed be punished for their wickedness, and God’s justice will
be vindicated in the end (2:2–20). Until then, God’s people must simply wait (v. 3).
God’s statement in verse 4b characterizes the waiting righteous. Thus, this
statement forms the core of Habakkuk’s prophecy. This statement alone applies directly
to Habakkuk and the other righteous persons in Judah. The righteous can take comfort in
God’s just punishment of the wicked, but they can be even more encouraged by God’s
3
Smith, Micah–Malachi, 93.
11
promise that they “will live.” To understand Habakkuk’s application for the believing
reader, one must correctly interpret this verse.
The prophet himself must have understood the message. After God’s second
response, Habakkuk had no more questions or complaints. Instead, he responded with a
declaration of praise for and trust in God. Although the circumstances of life may call the
justice of God into question, the child of God has confidence in God’s character, so that
he is assured that God’s justice will be vindicated in the end. Thus, he is able not only to
endure whatever trials come his way, but also to come through the trials with songs of
praise. Habakkuk underwent a dramatic change of outlook between the complaints of
chapter 1 and the psalm of chapter 3. He recognized that God’s ways are right, even when
he could not understand how they could be so. The message of Habakkuk is that this
same transformation is available to all those who have steadfast trust in God.4
Context of Habakkuk 2:4
Habakkuk 2:4 comes in the midst of God’s response to Habakkuk’s second
complaint. In 2:2 God announces a vision. This vision was not intended only to answer
Habakkuk’s complaint, for Habakkuk is instructed to write it on tablets so that
messengers might run and spread the vision to the public at large (v. 2). According to
verse 3, this vision would not be fulfilled for some time, but its fulfillment was certain
and Habakkuk should wait for it. After this introductory explanation of the vision, verse 4
begins with hNEh.i This particle should be understood as introducing the content of the
4
Ernst Wendland, “‘The Righteous Live by Their Faith’ in a Holy God:
Complementary Compositional Forces and Habakkuk’s Dialogue with the Lord,” Journal
of the Evangelical Theological Society 42/4 (December 1999): 611.
12
vision itself.5 This term is often used as a “poetic introductory formula,” implying that a
new thought is beginning. Thus verse 4 is connected more closely with what follows than
with what precedes.6 Verses 4 and 5 contrast the righteous and the wicked. The precise
nature of this contrast will be explored in the following exegesis of verse 4. Verses 6–20
announce five woes against the Chaldean oppressors. The wicked nation Babylon will be
used as God’s instrument to punish Judah, but the Babylonians will not escape
punishment themselves. God will demonstrate His justice against the Chaldeans, and He
will reign supreme.
This understanding of the context is not universal. Indeed, a number of textual
problems and interpretive difficulties have led many scholars to suggest textual
emendations and alternative interpretations. For example, J. J. M. Roberts disagrees with
the assertion that the vision begins in verse 4. He sees a contrast between two different
responses to the vision beginning in verse 4, while the vision itself is recorded in 3:3–15.7
This section of chapter 3 may seem like the type of vision one would expect, but
Roberts’s understanding does violence to the context of Habakkuk, for 3:1 explicitly
states that what follows is “a prayer of Habakkuk,” not a revelation from God.
5
Robertson, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah, 174.
6
Richard D. Patterson, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Wycliffe Exegetical
Commentary (Chicago: Moody Press, 1991), 214.
7
J. J. M. Roberts, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah: A Commentary, Old
Testament Library (Louisville, Ky.: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1991), 81, 111.
13
Gerald Janzen emends dA[ (“still, yet”) in verse 3 to d[e (“witness”).8 He does
this to parallel x;pye ," which he understands as a noun meaning “witness, testifier.” This
term has traditionally been understood as a verb meaning “pants,” or, figuratively,
“hastens” (NASB). Janzen’s understanding is based on the word x;ypiy" found in Proverbs
6:19; 14:5, 25; 19:5, 9; 12:17.9 However, it is not certain that this word is a noun in these
verses, nor is it certain that Habakkuk used the same noun, if it is indeed a noun. Janzen
translates 2:3 as “The vision is a witness to an appointed time, a testifier to the end—it
does not lie.”10 This translation need not greatly change one’s understanding of verse 4;
however, Janzen’s perspective results in a collocation of four key words also used in
Proverbs, three in verse 3 (d[e, x;pye ," bZEky; )> and one in verse 4 (hn"Wma/). Janzen asserts
that this collocation implies that hn"Wma/ in verse 4 refers to the vision, not to the
righteous (qyDIc); .11 If verse 4 focuses on the vision, this changes how one understands
the passage.
Patterson responds to Janzen, “Only one of the key terms of Hab. 2:4 is actually
used in these citations in Proverbs. . . . Janzen’s three key terms of v. 3 never occur with
8
J. Gerald Janzen, “Habakkuk 2:2–4 in the Light of Recent Philological
Advances,” Harvard Theological Review 73/1–2 (January–April 1980): 55–56.
9
In Proverbs 14:25 it is spelled x;pyi ."
10
Janzen, “Habakkuk 2:2–4,” 57.
11
Ibid., 61.
14
hn"Wma/. Thus in the six passages in Proverbs all four terms necessary to Janzen’s theory
occur in some form only once.”12 Moreover, there is no manuscript support for Janzen’s
emendation of dA[ to d[e, and the method of pattern recognition Janzen uses to support
his emendation (i.e., parallels in Proverbs) is questionable.13 Thus, there is no need to
connect verse 4 to verses 2–3 as Janzen does.
Rikki Watts also sees a connection between verses 2–3 and verse 4, but he does
not use Janzen’s arguments. Watts notes that verse 4a relates to verses 5–20, and so he
suggests that verse 4 is “an inverted hinge, A-b'-a'-B, where 2:4a (b') anticipates the fate
of the arrogant in 2:5ff. (B) while 2:4b (a')—and this is the important point—looks back
to the vision of 2:2–3 (A).”14 He uses this hinge structure to argue that verse 4b refers to
the reliability of the vision.15 His reasoning seems circular; the presence of the hinge
depends on the connection between verses 2–3 and verse 4b, while the connection
between these verses is supported by the hinge structure. Verses 5–20 are connected to
verse 4 by means of yKi
@a;w,> but hNEhi at the beginning of verse 4 seems to separate
verses 2–3 from verse 4. Thus, the presence of the hinge structure is not certain.
12
Patterson, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, 213.
13
Walter E. Rast, “Habakkuk and Justification by Faith,” Currents in Theology
and Mission 10/3 (June 1983): 172 n. 10.
14
Rikki E. Watts, “‘For I Am Not Ashamed of the Gospel’: Romans 1:16–17 and
Habakkuk 2:4,” in Romans and the People of God: Essays in Honor of Gordon D. Fee on
the Occasion of His 65th Birthday, ed. Sven K. Soderlund and N. T. Wright, 3–25 (Grand
Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1999), 11.
15
Ibid., 13.
15
Habakkuk 2:4
Not surprisingly, scholarly debate regarding this verse has been very lively.
Referring to Habakkuk 2:1–5, Ralph Smith writes, “There is no more important passage
in Habakkuk than this one, and few in the OT more significant because of the later use of
it by the apostle Paul and Martin Luther.”16 Almost every word in Habakkuk 2:4 is
disputed. Some suggest textual emendations, while others propose novel interpretations
of the text as it stands. For convenience, the Hebrew text is provided below:
hy<xy. I Atn"Wma/B, qyDIcw; > AB Avp.n: hr"vy. -" aOl hl'P[. u hNEhi
God’s Characterization of the Wicked
The first problem is the second word of the verse: hl'P[
. .u As it stands in the
Masoretic Text, this term is a pual, perfect, third-person, feminine, singular verb. The
only other occurrence of this verb root is in Numbers 14:44, where the hiphil is used, so
Habakkuk 2:4 would have the only occurrence of the pual of this verb. Furthermore, the
only noun in the clause is Avp.n,: which is the subject of the verb hr"vy. ." If this noun is the
subject of both verbs, then this verse does not explicitly define the referent of the thirdperson, masculine, singular suffix on Avp.n.: Thus, it appears that the main character in
verse 4a is not identified. This lack of a subject has led scholars to a variety of theories.17
16
17
Smith, Micah–Malachi, 105.
As will be seen below, this is not really a problem. The contrast between verses
4a and 4b defines the antecedent of the pronominal suffix in 4a as the opposite of qydc
in 4b. In this context, 4a is referring to the Chaldeans. Note the comments of Marvin
16
Emendation of hNEhi
The first word of this verse (hNEh)i has been discussed above. It is a common
introductory particle. However, some scholars believe the subject of the clause should be
found here. P. J. M. Southwell suggests that hNEhi should be re-pointed as
7:11) or perhaps the hypothetical form
HN; hO ; (cf. Ezek
HN"h.; , either one from the root Hwn.18 There is
slight evidence for this root in Hebrew, and there is a related Arabic root meaning “be
high.” So Southwell conjectures that this is the subject and translates “the eminent
man.”19 However, the lack of definitive lexical evidence and the complete lack of
manuscript support make Southwell’s theory untenable.
Insertion of a subject
Smith also believes that “the text has probably suffered some corruption in
transmission across the years.” He suggests, “The easiest solution (which is not
Sweeney: “The 3rd person singular verbs and pronoun suffixes in v. 4a do not require an
antecedent in this verse. A similar case appears in i 12b where pronouns lacking an
immediate antecedent are used to refer to Chaldea. Furthermore, i 13 associates Chaldea
with the wicked in contrast to the righteous, which has obvious implications for
understanding the contrast of the arrogant figure of v. 4a with the righteous figure of v.
4b” (Marvin A. Sweeney, “Structure, Genre, and Intent in the Book of Habakkuk,” Vetus
Testamentum 41/1 [January 1991]: 75–76).
18
P. J. M. Southwell, “A Note on Habakkuk ii.4,” Journal of Theological Studies,
n.s., 19/2 (October 1968): 616.
19
Ibid., 617.
17
necessarily the best) is to insert lW[h ‘the evildoer’ as the subject.”20 William Brownlee
also sees a missing subject in Habakkuk 2:4a, because of metrical concerns. The current
text of verse 4 has 2 beats, 3 beats, and 3 beats, but if there were a subject in the first part,
it would have 3/3/3.21 If “the wicked,” “the unjust,” or something similar should be
inserted as the subject, then why is the first verb of feminine gender? It seems preferable
to take Avp.n: as the subject of both verbs. Moreover, changing the consonantal text
(inserting a whole word, in this case) is a very subjective exercise. If the exegete can
make sense of the Masoretic Text, this text should be accepted.
Emendation of hl'P[
. u
J. A. Emerton suggests other changes. He expects a statement about the
punishment of the eminent man, in order to contrast with the promise of life for the
righteous man in verse 4b. This lack of contrast with the destiny of the righteous leads
Emerton to reject all those theories that find a word for a blameworthy person in the
leading verb hl'P[
. .u 22 There are a variety of theories that look for a reference to the
downfall of the wicked in this verb. Some transpose two characters to get the verb root
@l[ (“to faint”). One might translate verse 4a: “Behold, he whose soul in not upright in
20
Smith, Micah–Malachi, 106.
21
William H. Brownlee, “The Placarded Revelation of Habakkuk,” Journal of
Biblical Literature 82 (1963): 322.
22
J. A. Emerton, “The Textual and Linguistic Problems of Habakkuk II. 4–5,”
Journal of Theological Studies, n.s., 28/1 (April 1977): 14.
18
him shall fail.”23 Roberts notes that verse 3 commands one to wait for the fulfillment of
the vision, so he expects verse 4 to express something about a failure to wait. He suggests
the roots @l[, @[y, or @y[, “all of which imply exhaustion, weariness, or fainting away.
Based on the idiom in Jer. 4:31, one could read the qal masculine singular participle of
‘yp and obtain an appropriate sense without changing the consonantal text: hinnēh ‘āp
lōh, ‘Now the one who faints before it. . . .’”24 This approach finds support in some Greek
versions, including the Septuagint, Aquila, and the Palestinian recension.25 However,
Carl Armerding noted, “The MT remains the preferable reading here. The difficulty of its
rare verbal form and the lack of clear parallelism with v. 4b explain the variants, whose
renderings are suggested by the interchange of a single root consonant.”26
Emerton still believes something like this would be the best solution, although he
suggests the root @W[ (“to fly”) with the word division and pointing hl{
@[', first the qal
active participle of @W[, where “fly” is used in the sense of “perish” (cf. Ps 90:10), and
second “a preposition with the third person masculine singular pronominal suffix, written
23
Ibid., 15.
24
Roberts, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah, 106–7.
25
William H. Brownlee, The Text of Habakkuk in the Ancient Commentary from
Qumran, Journal of Biblical Literature Monograph Series 11 (Philadelphia: Society of
Biblical Literature and Exegesis, 1959), 43.
26
Carl E. Armerding, “Habakkuk,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, 12
vols., ed. Frank E. Gaebelein, 7:491–534 (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1976–92),
7:514.
19
in an archaic way with he instead of waw and serving as an ethic dative.”27 This theory
lacks the support of both the Hebrew manuscripts and the versions.
Referring all of verse 4 to the righteous
A. S. van der Woude has an interesting approach to verses 4–5. The yKi
@a;w> at
the beginning of verse 5 is traditionally understood as continuing the statement in verse 4
in the sense of “furthermore” (NASB) or “moreover” (ESV). Van der Woude interprets
this as introducing the conclusion of an argument from the lesser to the greater.28 If this is
the case, then verse 4 must refer only to the righteous, while verse 5 picks up the
godless.29 After receiving feedback on his 1966 article, in 1970 van der Woude wrote
another article in which he interpreted verse 4 as a rhetorical question: “Wenn
leichtsinnig, nicht recht seine Seele in ihn ist, wird dann der Gerechte durch seine Treue
leben?”30 The answer, of course, is “no” (cf. Ezek 33:12). Former faithfulness will not
save the righteous man if he sins. According to van der Woude, verse 5 goes on to say,
27
Emerton, “Habakkuk II. 4–5,” 16.
28
A. S. van der Woude, “Der Gerecht wird durch seine Treue leben: Erwa>gungen
zu Habakuk 2:4–5,” in Studia Biblica et Semitica: Theodore Christiano Vriezen dedicate,
ed. W. C. van Unnik and A. S. van der Woude, 367–75 (Wageningen, Neth.: H. Veenman
en Zonen, 1966), 367.
29
30
Ibid., 368.
A. S. van der Woude, “Habakuk 2 4,” Zeitschrift für die Alttestamentliche
Wissenschaft 82 (1970): 282. The question could be translated, “If his soul is careless, not
right in him, will then the righteous live by his faithfulness?” The translation of
leichtsinnig as “careless” probably is too weak in this context. Careless in the sense of
“heedless,” or perhaps even “foolish,” probably is intended. However one translates it,
van der Woude sees verse 4a as a reference to unrighteousness.
20
“How much less for the unfaithful.” He then makes one emendation, changing
!yIYh: ;
(“wine”) in verse 5 to a form of the verb !wh, which he sees as synonymous with lp[
(cf. Deut 1:41 with Num 14:44).31
Emerton rejects van der Woude’s theory. On the positive side, van der Woude
does not change the Masoretic Text of verse 4, and he makes only a small change to verse
5 to make sense of the passage.32 However, this makes verses 4–5 a weak argument that
does not really answer Habakkuk’s complaint. Also, why should the sin of being
“leichtsinnig” be singled out?33 It is also noteworthy that yKi
@a; in such an argument in
the Old Testament means “how much more” after a positive clause or “how much less”
after a negative clause.34 Van der Woude wants these terms to mean “how much less”
after a positive clause.
Insertion of a verb
James Scott also sees 2:4–5a as an argument from the lesser to the greater. He
argues that hl'P[
. u is the masculine noun lp,[o with the local h termination, referring to a
place: Ophel, the hill of Jerusalem. He lists two problems with this interpretation: “that -â
31
Van der Woude, “Der Gerecht wird durch seine Treue leben,” 372 n. 1.
32
Emerton, “Habakkuk II. 4–5,” 12.
33
Ibid., 13.
34
Ludwig Koehler and Walter Baumgartner et al., eds., The Hebrew and Aramaic
Lexicon of the Old Testament, 5 vols. (Leiden, Neth.: E. J. Brill, 1994–2000), 1:76, s.v.
@a;. Hereafter, HALOT.
21
locale is only rarely tonic (GKC § 90 c, i) and that the daghesh forte is unaccounted
for.”35 If Scott is correct, then verse 4 is missing a verb, and so he thinks it has elided (as
part of the argument from the lesser to the greater). He picks up the verb from verse 5:
hw<ny> ,I which he understands as “to be laid waste, destroyed,” based on a possible
Babylonian cognate.36 His translation is: “If indeed Ophel [will be laid waste], unless its
people are upright in it—now the righteous (nation) will live (with divine prosperity in
the land) by means of its trustworthiness—how much more will the wine deal
treacherously, and will not (the) haughty man be destroyed?”37 This is a novel approach,
. u is a reference to Ophel.
but Scott provides his own critique; it is not likely that hl'P[
Moreover, none of the ancient versions or commentators seem to have understood it in
this way.
Accepting the Masoretic Text
These examples of the various theories of emendation demonstrate the subjective
nature of this approach. Instead, it is better to follow the Masoretic Text. Patterson
provides three reasons for this: (1) The canon of textual criticism to “prefer the more
difficult reading” favors the Masoretic Text. (2) The reading of the commentary on
35
James M. Scott, “A New Approach to Habakkuk II 4–5A,” Vetus Testamentum
35/3 (July 1985): 331.
36
37
Ibid., 332–33.
Ibid., 340. Note that Scott sees Ophel as a reference to Judah (ibid., 334) and
“wine” as a reference to the Chaldeans (ibid., 338).
22
Habakkuk from Qumran (1QpHab) supports the Masoretic Text.38 (3) “The traditional
text, though obscure, can be explained.”39
The meaning of hl'P[
. u
. u is the only occurrence of the pual of this verb, its meaning can
Although hl'P[
be inferred from cognate terms. The noun lp,[o is used for a swelling of tissue, such as a
boil or tumor, in Deuteronomy 28:27; 1 Samuel 5:6, 9, 12; 6:4–5. The term is also used
for a hill, which is like a swelling of the earth. It is also a proper name for a hill in
Jerusalem.40 Robertson understands the term as a reference to the proud, who “are
‘puffed up,’ ‘bloated,’ or even ‘tumorous.’”41 However, this term is a verb, and one
should not interpret it as a noun unless necessary.
Patterson understands hl'P[
. u as a predicate adjective before a relative clause with
omitted particle: “Arrogant is the one whose desires are not upright.” The syntax would
be similar to that of Isaiah 41:24. Patterson says, “On the whole this seems the easiest
38
See also Brownlee, Text of Habakkuk, 43: “hlpw[ at vii.14 [in 1QpHab]
confirms both text and vocalization of MT 2:4 hlp[.”
39
Patterson, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, 216. The Masoretic Text is also
supported by Waldemar N. Neufeld, “An Exegetical and Theological Study of Habakkuk
2:4–5” (Th.M. thesis, Dallas Theological Seminary, 1990, text-fiche), 15–29.
40
HALOT, 2:861.
41
Robertson, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah, 174.
23
solution and has OT literary precedent.”42 Once again, however, it is better to understand
this form as a verb.
Another scholar agrees with the meaning “puffed up” or “proud” and notes, “Such
characterization fits perfectly with the conceited persons about whom the prophet had
something to say at 1:7, 11, 13.”43 Indeed, this term seems to refer to the opposite of the
qyDIc; in the second half of the verse. Thus it should mean something like “heedless,”
. u makes sense as a
“puffed up,” or “presumptuous.”44 With this meaning in mind, hl'P[
feminine verb with the feminine noun (with suffix) Avp.n: as the subject.45 The reference
of the pronominal suffix is not mentioned in verse 4a, but C. F. Keil notes his identity
“may be inferred from the prophet’s question in ch. 1:12–17. The Chaldaean is meant.
His soul is puffed up.”46
42
Patterson, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, 217.
43
Széles, Wrath and Mercy, 30–31.
44
Donald E. Gowan, The Triumph of Faith in Habakkuk (Atlanta: John Knox,
1976), 42.
is also the subject of hr"vy. ." “It is unusual to have two verbs with a
common (delayed) subject, although it sometimes happens with coordinated verbs”
(Francis I. Andersen, Habakkuk: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary,
Anchor Bible [New York: Doubleday, 2001], 209).
45
46
Avp.n:
C. F. Keil, “Habakkuk,” in Commentary on the Old Testament, 10 vols., by C.
F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, trans. James Martin, 385–429 (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1866–
91; reprint, Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 1996), 10:401. Similarly, “The suffix ‘his’
evidently refers to the Babylonians in continuity with 1:2–2:1” (Armerding, “Habakkuk,”
7:512).
24
Francis Andersen suggests that hNEhi usually has the “function of drawing
attention to something actually present.” In this case, the person with a “puffed up” vp,n<
“should be identifiable as a participant in the situation. We probably have here an
instance of delayed identification of the participant.” He notes that “the nearest eligible
noun” is dgEAB in verse 5.47 However, this participle expresses the verbal idea of its
clause, the subject being ryhiy"
rb,G< (“proud man”). In the context, verses 5–20 certainly
refer to the Chaldeans, so Andersen’s observations amount to the same thing as Keil’s.
The meaning of hr"vy. "
An additional statement is made about the vp,n< of the proud Chaldean: it is not
hr"vy. ." This verb refers to something that is straight or smooth. It is commonly
understood in an ethical sense. For example, the one version translates the clause as “His
soul is not right within him.”48 Janzen objects to this understanding: “For all its
familiarity and its apparent idiomatic naturalness, the customary rendering ‘his soul is not
upright in him’ is really quite unnatural in Hebrew; indeed, it is so unlikely as to be an
impossible or at least an outlandish rendering.” He offers two reasons: (1) There is no
analogy for a stative use of this verb to describe someone’s vp,n.< Nominal and adjectival
forms of this root can mean “upright,” but the verb indicates locomotion along a path or
47
48
Andersen, Habakkuk, 209–10.
Unless otherwise noted, English translations will be from the New American
Standard Bible, updated edition (Anaheim, Calif.: Foundation Publications, 1995).
25
making a path straight (literally or figuratively). (2) “Nonverbal forms of the root yšr
elsewhere never qualify the noun nepeš is an ethical-religious sense.”49 If Habakkuk had
meant this, one would expect ble or bb'l,e not vp,n.< 50 Janzen’s solution is to emend
hl'P[. u to lce[' (“sluggard”).51 He translates 2:4a: “As for the sluggard, his soul does not
go straight on in it” (“it” refering to the “vision” of verse 3).52 Roberts accepts Janzen’s
arguments and has a similar translation.53 He claims that the construction “is used to
express consistent, unwavering movement along a certain path.” He concludes,
“Habakkuk’s meaning is that the fainthearted individual will turn aside from a manner of
life consistent with the message of the vision; he or she will not continue to walk straight
and unwaveringly in its light.”54 However, as argued above, neither textual emendation
nor the connection of the “vision” with verse 4 are commendable.
Haak suggests that no moral judgment is being made, but the nuance of the verb is
“free of obstacles, straight.”55 He understands vp,n< as having the literal meaning “throat,
gullet” here; indeed, this is the way it is used in the next verse. “The oracle ends by
49
Janzen, “Habakkuk 2:2–4,” 63.
50
Ibid., 64.
51
Ibid., 67.
52
Ibid., 68.
53
Roberts, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah, 105, 107.
54
Ibid., 111.
55
Haak, Habakkuk, 58.
26
stating that the ‘throat,’ which Habakkuk has depicted as insatiable (1:13–17), will be
swollen (shut) and will not be ‘free of obstacles.’”56 L. Alonso-Schökel understands this
verse to say that “his neck is distended and stretched not by nature but because he has
tried to swallow too much . . . in our case his throat or appetite will be unsuccessful (as v.
5a states); this stands in contrast to the life that is promised the righteous. In other words,
the glutton will choke on his intemperance.”57 However, it is not clear how this provides
a contrast with “the righteous will live” (v. 4b), and verse 5 states that the proud man will
eat and not be satisfied because his appetite is so large, not because his throat is swollen
shut. Thus the “furthermore” at the beginning of verse 5 would not make sense; it should
be something like “nevertheless, for the time being.”
Andersen also suggests that vp,n< means the same thing in verses 4 and 5, but he
thinks that both parts of verse 4 refer to the vision: “his throat is twisted against it [the
vision],” but “the righteous man will live by means of its reliability.”58 Besides the fact
that it is unlikely that the pronominal suffixes of verse 4 refer to the vision of verse 3, it is
not entirely clear what twisting one’s throat against a vision means.
56
Ibid., 59.
L. Alonso-Schökel and H. Ringgren, “rv;y," ” in Theological Dictionary of the
Old Testament, 15 vols., ed. G. Johannes Botterweck, Helmer Ringgren, and Heinz-Josef
Fabry, trans. John T. Willis et al., 6:463–72 (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1974–
2006), 6:471.
57
58
Andersen, Habakkuk, 208.
27
Gowan believes that hr"vy. " should be the opposite of “will live” in verse 4b, so he
translates “his life is unstable.”59 However, this does not seem to be the sense in which
this term was used. Moreover, it is not necessary to have exact parallels between 4a and
4b. The fact that the righteous “will live” implies that the unrighteous will not, even if
this is not explicitly stated. The fate of the unrighteous will be made clear in the “woe
oracles” of verses 6–20. Robertson notes that the proud person “cannot be upright in
himself,” and his pride means he will not look for “a righteousness outside himself.”60
Since the proud cannot be upright, “neither can they live. They must experience
condemnation and judgment. . . . The fact that their soul is not upright in them should be
an adequate indicator of their ultimate judgment.”61
Speaking of hr"vy. ," Brownlee states, “The root idea in this figurative word is
‘level,’ not ‘vertical’—although the well-nigh universal English translation ‘upright’
would seem to suggest the latter. The verb is used for the leveling of hills and valleys in
Isa 40 3. In Hab 2 4, where levelness is antithetical to ‘puffed up,’ it is clear that the word
means humility.”62 He translates verse 4a, “Behold, the naughty is haughty; his soul is
not humble within him.”63 He summarizes verse 4: “Habakkuk’s ‘revelation’ represents
timeless truth: ‘Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.’ To see that this is
59
Gowan, Triumph of Faith, 43.
60
Robertson, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah, 174–75.
61
Ibid., 175.
62
Brownlee, “Placarded Revelation,” 325.
63
Ibid., 324.
28
really true, Habakkuk was counseled to be patient and wait.”64 This is similar to Keil’s
assertion that “his soul is not straight” further explains hl'P[
. .u 65
While it may be unparalleled for hr"vy. " to be used with vp,n< instead of ble, the
similarity between the two terms in the moral realm would not make this usage
impossible. It is true that hr"vy. " is not used exclusively in a moral sense, but that is often
the case.66 In connection with the pride implied by hl'P[
. u and in contrast with the qyDIc;
in verse 4b, the translation “upright” fits the context.
Even if the precise nuance of verse 4a is debatable, the general meaning is plain.
The Chaldeans stand in sharp contrast with the righteous. They were proud and not
upright. They were self-confident and self-reliant; they had no regard for Yahweh. This is
the context of verse 4b, which must now be explored.
God’s Promise to the Righteous
Habakkuk 2:4b is the most famous and influential portion of this prophecy, and
yet it is only three words in Hebrew. This clause is disjunctive, which indicates contrast
in this case. The subject is qyDIc; (“the righteous one”).
64
Ibid., 325.
65
Keil, “Habakkuk,” 10:401.
66
Széles, Wrath and Mercy, 31.
29
The meaning of qyDIc;
In the Old Testament, “righteousness” sometimes has the idea of judicial
standing. For example, Isaiah 5:23 pronounces a woe on those who “declare the wicked
righteous” ([v'r"
yqeyDIc.m); . “Therefore, in its OT context righteousness should be
regarded first of all as a religious rather than an ethical term.”67 Gowan notes, “The just,
the righteous one, is the one who has been vindicated, whom God has declared to be
right. There is a legal background to this word; it denotes the winner in a case at law in
some of its Old Testament uses.”68
In Habakkuk 1:4, 13, the righteous are contrasted with the “wicked” ([v'r").
Patterson observes, “The righteous man . . . is the one who makes God’s righteous
standards his own and lives in accordance with them.”69 Deuteronomy 32:4 uses hn"Wma/,
qyDIc,; and rv'y" in reference to God. Patterson claims, “Habakkuk’s bringing together of
these words is doubtless not accidental.”70 The righteous person will have the same
upright character as God, so righteousness in Habakkuk is less a legal standing and more
a way of life. Standing in contrast with the proud Chaldeans, the righteous referred to
here are pious Jews, who had not abandoned their God or His covenant, even as the rest
of the nation was ignoring God’s Law (Hab 1:4). Although Israel faced devastation at the
67
Robertson, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah, 175.
68
Gowan, Triumph of Faith, 41.
69
Patterson, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, 219.
70
Ibid.
30
hand of Babylon, God had a special plan for those who were right before Him. The rest
of Habakkuk 2:4b provides a promise to encourage the righteous during the coming
disaster.
The meaning of Atn"Wma/B,
The next word in verse 4 (Atn"Wma/B), is the crux of the entire verse, especially as it
relates to the New Testament. There are three problems to be solved regarding this term:
textual, syntactical, and lexical.
Textual issue
The text of the Septuagint, Aquila, and the Old Latin imply a first-person,
singular, pronominal suffix (i.e., ytinW" ma/B), against the third-person of the Masoretic
Text. The word is no longer extant in 1QpHab, but “in the script of the scroll w and y
could not have been distinguished.” However, the third-person suffix is confirmed by the
scroll’s interpretation “their faith” at viii.2. The Targum also supports the third person
(although plural), and the Palestinian recension agrees with the Masoretic Text against
the Septuagint.71 Thus, it seems that the Masoretic Text is preferable.
Syntactical issue
Regarding the syntax, one must decide if Atn"Wma/B, belongs with what precedes or
with what follows. The preposition should be understood as instrumental, indicating “by
71
Brownlee, Text of Habakkuk, 44.
31
means of.”72 Thus, should the clause read, “The righteous-by-his-hn"Wma/ will live,” or
should it be, “The righteous will live-by-his-hn"Wma/”? Roberts, Haak, and Andersen
believe that the pronominal suffix refers to the vision of verse 3, in which case Atn"Wma/B,
clearly belongs with “will live.”73 However, the nearest antecedent for the suffix is qyDIc,;
and there seems to be no reason to skip back to verse 3 to find the antecedent.74
Nevertheless, many scholars who understand the suffix as “his,” referring to the righteous
one, agree that Atn"Wma/B, should be connected with the verb.75 The Masoretic accents also
support this connection. Andersen notes, “The person destined to live is not made
righteous (right with God) by his trustful attitude. His righteousness, as least as far as the
book of Habakkuk is concerned, is a matter already established vis-à-vis the wicked (1:4)
and is the ground of the appeal to God for salvation—vindication.”76
According to Robertson, “This analysis is confirmed by the common pattern of
the compound sentence in Hebrew. In this structure, a subject appears first, preceding the
“The preposition b attached to hn"Wma/ is obviously instrumental” (George J.
Zemek, “Interpretive Challenges Relating to Habakkuk 2:4b,” Grace Theological Journal
1/1 [Spring 1980]: 54).
72
73
Roberts, Habakkuk, 107; Haak, Habakkuk, 59; Andersen, Habakkuk, 211.
74
Armerding asserts that the “righteous” is “the only plausible antecedent of
‘his’” (“Habakkuk,” 7:513).
75
Zemek, “Interpretive Challenges,” 54; Keil, “Habakkuk,” 10:402; Robertson,
Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah, 176–77.
76
Andersen, Habakkuk, 215.
32
verbal clause (in contrast to the normal pattern in Hebrew). The subject is then followed
by an independent clause which often includes a retrospective suffix.”77 The “compound
sentence” terminology is that of Gesenius’s Hebrew grammar. Such a sentence consists
of the subject (which always precedes) and either an independent noun-clause or verbalclause.78 This construction is relatively common in the Old Testament, but qyDIc; is not
absolute in its clause; it makes perfect sense as the subject of the verb hy<xy. .I 79 However,
Robertson’s conclusion that Atn"Wma/B, modifies the verb hy<xy. I instead of the noun qyDIc;
is correct, even if his reason is faulty.
77
Robertson, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah, 177.
78
Friedrich Wilhelm Gesenius, Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar, 2d ed., ed. and
enlarged E. Kautzsch, trans. and rev. A. E. Cowley (Oxford, Eng.: Oxford University
Press, 1910), §143. They also refer to this as “casus pendens” (ibid., §143.c–d), the
terminology used by Paul Joüon, A Grammar of Biblical Hebrew, 2 vols., Subsidia
Biblica 14, trans. and rev. T. Muraoka (Rome: Pontifical Biblical Institute, 1991), §156.
This construction is called a “nominative absolute” by Bruce K. Waltke and M.
O’Connor, An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax (Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns,
1990), §4.7. They note, “The absolute may be associated as possessor with the subject of
the clause. . . . The absolute may also be associated as possessor with the direct object of
the clause. . . . The absolute may refer to the direct object of the clause or the object of a
prepositional phrase in the clause” (ibid., §4.7c). They do not note examples in which the
absolute is associated as possessor with the object of a prepositional phrase, as would be
the case in Habakkuk 2:4b. In fact, none of these three grammars cites examples with the
same construction as Habakkuk 2:4b.
79
Robertson finds support for a nominative absolute in verse 4b by seeing a
nominative absolute in the parallel clause of verse 4a as well (Robertson, Nahum,
Habakkuk, and Zephaniah, 177). However, it has been argued above that hl'P[
. u (which
Robertson understands as a noun) should be understood as a verb, the subject of which is
Avp.n.: Hence, the parallel breaks down.
33
Lexical issue
The third problem regarding Atn"Wma/B, is lexical. The Hebrew word hn"Wma/ refers
to steadfastness, faithfulness, or honesty.80 However, many English translations render
this by “faith” in Habakkuk 2:4.81 The Hebrew verb based on the same root (!ma) is used
in the Old Testament in the niphal to denote “be faithful,” while in the hiphil this root
means “believe.” James Barr claims, “There is no word in the OT in Hebrew meaning
‘faith’ or ‘belief’; that is to say, there is no noun form representing nominally the act
indicated by [the hiphil of !ma]—a fact that is widely known and acknowledged.”82
However, Barr notes, “Some would wish to make an exception of ’emûnāh in the famous
place Hab. 2:4.”83
Barr acknowledges that hn"Wma/ did come to mean “faith, trust” in later Judaism,
and he cites 1QpHab as a possibility. He favors the translation “faith” in 1QpHab because
of the b preposition (which was used with the verb in the hiphil to signify “believe in”),
though he admits that “faithfulness” is possible.84 Brownlee translates the pesher on
Habakkuk 2:4b from 1QpHab in the following way: “Its prophetic meaning concerns all
hn"Wma/.
80
HALOT, 1:62, s.v.
81
E.g., NASB, ESV, KJV, NIV, NKJV, NRSV.
82
James Barr, The Semantics of Biblical Language (Oxford, Eng.: Oxford
University Press, 1961), 173.
83
Ibid., 173 n. 1.
84
Ibid., 202.
34
the doers of the Law in the house of Judah whom God will deliver from the house of
damnation, because of their patient suffering and their steadfast faith in the Teacher of
Right. [qd,Ch
, ;
hrEAmB. ~t'n"muaw/ ]< .”85 He notes, “Because both faith and faithfulness are
required for the endurance of persecution, I have translated ‘because of their steadfast
faith.’”86 Fitzmyer, however, argues that
hn"Wma/ should be translated “faithfulness” in
this pesher, “not only because of the context which speaks of ‘the observers of the Law,’
but also because ’mntm is set in juxtaposition to ‘mlm, ‘their struggle,’ suggesting that the
former must have some meaning like ‘fidelity’ or ‘loyalty’ to the Teacher of
Righteousness.”87 Fitzmyer appears to be more faithful to the context.
Of course, the context of Habakkuk is much more important than the
understanding of Qumran. The classic defense of the translation “faith” in Habakkuk 2:4b
85
William H. Brownlee, The Midrash Pesher of Habakkuk, Society of Biblical
Literature Monograph Series 24 (Missoula, Mont.: Scholars Press, 1979), 125.
86
Ibid., 128; emphasis original. Brownlee continues, “That the idea of faith is not
to be excluded from the passage is reinforced by the Targum which seems to represent a
stage of interpretation behind 1QpHab: ‘Behold, the wicked say in their heart all these
things are not [to be]; but the righteous, because of their truth, shall survive.’ Since the
‘truth’ of the righteous stands in antithesis to the denial of the prophetic message on the
part of the wicked, it seems probable that the Targum interprets ’emûnāh as an
affirmation of the prophetic message. The next development beyond faith in the prophets
would be faith in the inspired interpreter of the prophets. This is the stage of
understanding reached by 1QpHab. After this, the next development in the evolution of
interpretation would be faith in the one who fulfils all prophecy. This last stage is
represented by the New Testament” (ibid., 129). His hypothesis of evolution is
questionable.
87
Joseph A. Fitzmyer, “Habakkuk 2:3–4 and the New Testament,” in De la Tôrah
au Messie: Mélanges Henri Cazelles, ed. Joseph Doré, Pierre Grelot, and Maurice Carrez
(Paris: Desclée, 1981), 452–53.
35
was provided by B. B. Warfield. He admits, “No hiphilate noun from this root [!ma]
occurs in the Old Testament,” but he observes that this need not be significant, since the
concepts of “faith” and “faithfulness” are similar; in fact, in some languages the same
term is used for both (the Greek pivsti", for example). 88 Warfield continues, “As a matter
of fact, however, ‘faith,’ in its active sense, can barely be accounted an Old Testament
term. . . . It would seem to be really demanded in no passage but Hab. ii. 4.”89 The term
hn"Wma/ appears 49 times in the Old Testament, and Warfield argues that it means “faith”
only once. One would need some very strong contextual reasons to support this
conclusion. Warfield notes the sharp contrast in Habakkuk 2:4 between “arrogant selfsufficiency and faithful dependence on God.” He argues that the broader context supports
this understanding: “Throughout this prophecy the Chaldæan is ever exhibited as the type
of insolent self-assertion (i. 7, 11, 16), in contrast with which the righteous appear,
certainly not as men of integrity and steadfast faithfulness, but as men who look in faith
to God and trustingly depend upon His arm.” He believes the “obvious” allusion to
Genesis 15:6 supports this assertion as well.90 The only other use of the !ma root in
Habakkuk is the hiphil verb in 1:5, meaning “believe,” so the idea of belief is in the
broader context.
88
Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield, “Faith,” in Biblical and Theological Studies,
ed. Samuel G. Craig, 404–44 (Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed Pub. Co., 1952),
430.
89
Ibid., 431.
90
Ibid.
36
As Warfield mentions, Genesis 15:6 has a number of parallels with Habakkuk
2:4b. The text of Genesis 15:6 states: hq'dc
" .
AL h'bv, x. Y. w: : hw"hyB; !miah/ w, > (“and he
believed in Yahweh, and he reckoned it to him as righteousness”). Two of the three roots
used in Habakkuk 2:4b are found in Genesis 15:6—qdc and !ma, so Habakkuk may
have remembered this verse when God said hy<xy. I
Atn"Wma/B, qyDIcw; .> 91
Habakkuk may also have been reminded of a prophecy from decades earlier found
in Isaiah 7:9. Ahaz, king of Judah, was facing invasion by the kings of Aram and Israel,
so God sent Isaiah to assure him that they would not succeed. At the end of this assurance
(which is similar to the assurance that Habakkuk was seeking), God made the interesting
comment Wnmeat
' e
aOl yKi Wnymiat] ; aOl ~ai (“If you will not believe [hiphil of !ma], you
will certainly not endure [niphal of !ma]”). Isaiah is essentially telling Ahaz, “You will
live if you believe.”
91
A complete discussion of Genesis 15:6 is beyond the scope of this thesis.
However, it should be noted that using this verse to interpret Habakkuk 2:4 requires one
to assume that the roots qdc and !ma mean essentially the same thing in both passages.
However, as is noted above, qdc can denote either a legal standing or a way of life, and
the !ma word group can refer to believing or reliability. Moreover, one must understand
Genesis 15:6 in the Pauline sense in order to use it to interpret Habakkuk 2:4 in the
Pauline sense. In the context of this thesis, it is inappropriate to assume that Paul provides
the grammatical-historical interpretation of either verse when he cites them in his epistles
to Rome and Galatia. In fact, one may wonder whether the connection between Genesis
15:6 and Habakkuk 2:4 is “obvious” only to those who have seen them closely related by
Paul in these two letters. For an introduction to the interpretive issues related to Genesis
15:6, see David J. Reimer, “qdc,” in New International Dictionary of Old Testament
Theology and Exegesis, 5 vols., ed. Willem A. VanGemeren, 3:744–69 (Grand Rapids,
Mich.: Zondervan, 1997), 3:753–54.
37
Rast also supports this understanding of Habakkuk 2:4b. In verse 3, Habakkuk
was told to wait for the vision’s fulfillment. The righteous one needed to hold on before
the oppressor was dealt with. Rast comments, “This holding on would be the most
genuine expression of the righteous one’s life. In this sense ’ěmûnâh is not adequately
translated by ‘faithfulness’ alone, which would stress that the future possibilities would
pivot around the saddîq himself.” Rast admits that faithfulness is also implied, especially
when one remembers 1:4, which says that the Law was being ignored. Rast continues,
“But the thrust of the second oracle is toward an anticipated outcome, delayed for the
moment but assuredly to come about, when God would act anew. Living toward that
promised action seems to be the strength of the word ’ěmûnâh here.”92
Keil argues that in the noun hn"Wma/ the primary meanings of both the niphal and
hiphil of the verb !ma are combined. He notes Nehemiah 9:8, where Abraham is
described with the niphal participle in reference to what is affirmed of him in Genesis
15:6 using the hiphil perfect. He also sees an allusion to Genesis 15:6 in Habakkuk 2:4.
He claims that the context of Habakkuk supports his understanding. Habakkuk was to
wait for the oracle to be fulfilled, and so he needed a “faith which adheres faithfully to
God.” Also, hn"Wma/ is contrasted with the pride of the Chaldeans (i.e., self-sufficiency),
so it should indicate reliance on God, not just integrity. Keil believes that the Greek
pivsti" (found in the Septuagint, for example) is a good rendering.93
92
Rast, “Habakkuk,” 173.
93
Keil, “Habakkuk,” 10:402.
38
Robertson also argues for the translation “faith.” He believes that the term hn"Wma/
does not refer to steadfast deeds/works in this context—it must be steadfast faith.
“Continuation in trust alone can assure continued possession of the gift of life.”94 He
adds, “Too quickly, it seems, have exegetes been ready to identify the meaning of this
term exclusively with ‘faithfulness.’ But a careful consideration of the OT contexts in
which the term occurs indicates that ‘trust’ or ‘faith’ may well explain its usage at several
points.”95 He concludes, “In the context of Habakkuk, when considered in the light of
Gen. 15:6, it is ‘steadfast trust’ in God that is the way the gift of life must be received.
This way contrasts with all arrogance and boastfulness.”96
Széles agrees with this understanding: “The term ’emunah is used here for ‘faith.’
In the OT the meaning of the verb ’aman from which it derives defines its
significance.”97 She continues, “The verb thus brings together both the passive and the
active aspects of human behavior toward God—confidence, steadfastness, resoluteness,
trust, obedience, peace of mind, assurance, knowing that one is being looked after. So
’emunah means all these things.”98
94
Robertson, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah, 179.
95
Ibid., 180. Robertson suggests Psalm 119:29–30 and Proverbs 12:17 (both of
these having contrasts with “falsehood”); Proverbs 28:20; Psalm 31:24; 37:3 as places
where “faith” may be an appropriate rendering.
96
Ibid., 181.
97
Széles, Wrath and Mercy, 31.
98
Ibid., 32.
39
How did Habakkuk himself understand God’s pronouncement in Habakkuk 2:4b?
Chapter 3 records Habakkuk’s response. Does his psalm reflect faithfulness or faith? In
verse 2 Habakkuk gives his response to hearing the report about Yahweh: ytiarEy" (“I
fear”). In verses 3–15 Habakkuk exalts the Lord’s person and works, but there is no
mention of God’s Word, Law, or covenant. When in verses 16–17 Habakkuk
acknowledges the distress to come upon Judah, his response is not, “Thus I will be
faithful to God, as he told me.” Instead, he responds, “Yet I will exult in the LORD, I will
rejoice in the God of my salvation” (v. 18). Commenting on chapter 3 Wendland
remarks, “Habakkuk provides in these words his own, faith-based resolution for the
problematic theological issue that he raised at the very beginning of the book (1:2–4).”99
Habakkuk responded to the vision of chapter 2 with faith.
However, given the lexical evidence from the rest of the Old Testament regarding
hn"Wma/, one wonders why anyone would ever think to argue that it means “faith” in
Habakkuk 2:4. Of course, the idea of faith is generally understood in Paul’s uses of this
verse in the New Testament, but if Paul had never quoted Habakkuk 2:4, it is doubtful
that any of the arguments cited above would ever have been made. The exegete is in
danger of reading the New Testament into the Old Testament, an invalid hermeneutical
principle.100 If God did say, “The righteous will live by his faithfulness,” Habakkuk
99
Wendland, “‘The Righteous Live by Their Faith,’” 609.
100
Mark Seirid remarks, “Modern translations regularly read Paul’s usage into the
Hebrew text, so that ’ěmûnâ is translated as ‘faith’ in Hab. 2:4 (e.g., NRSV, NIV, NASB,
ESV). But this rendering is illegitimate, as ’ěmûnâ signifies fidelity, reliability, or
faithfulness” (Mark A. Seifrid, “Romans,” in Commentary on the New Testament Use of
40
would not have been surprised. This type of statement is thoroughly consistent with the
Old Testament context in which Habakkuk lived.
Indeed, many scholars argue for the translation “faithfulness” in Habakkuk 2:4b.
Neufeld notes a connection between verses 4 and 5. Since verse 5 emphasizes conduct,
this suggests that conduct is referred to in verse 4 as well. Thus, “faithfulness” is a better
translation than “faith.”101 Smith also translates: “but the righteous shall live by his
faithfulness.”102 He comments, “Habakkuk was to wait in faith for God to act. . . . But
Habakkuk was not to wait with folded hands and bated breath for all this to happen. He
was to live a life of faithfulness (v 4). The evil one is puffed up with pride and he will fall
(vv 4, 5), but the righteous will live by being faithful to his covenant with God.”103
Moberly states emphatically, “In an OT context, however, ‘his faithfulness’ is
clearly preferable.”104 The term hn"Wma/ often is associated with the character of Yahweh
in the Old Testament. Since God requires imitation, His people must be faithful, too.
Similarly, Armerding remarks, “The clause is thus expressing the Lord’s demand for a
righteousness that is pursued steadfastly from the heart, without vacillation,
the Old Testament, ed. G. K. Beale and D. A. Carson, 607–94 [Grand Rapids, Mich.:
Baker Academic, 2007], 609).
101
Neufeld, “Habakkuk 2:4–5,” 35.
102
Smith, Micah–Malachi, 105.
103
Ibid., 107.
R. W. L. Moberly, “!ma,” in New International Dictionary of Old Testament
Theology and Exegesis, 5 vols., ed. Willem A. VanGemeren, 1:427–33 (Grand Rapids,
Mich.: Zondervan, 1997), 1:430.
104
41
doublemindedness, or hypocrisy—its outcome being life. Such a meaning is conveyed
more precisely by the noun ‘faithfulness.’”105
Commenting on Habakkuk 2:4, Alfred Jepsen asserts that hn"Wma/ “is that conduct
which is in accordance with ’emeth, which includes sincerity, faithfulness, reliability, and
stability. Such ’emunah is peculiar to the tsaddiq and brings him to life. Of course, this
sentence should not be isolated from its context. 2:4 is the antecedent of v. 5, and does
not refer to the faith of the prophet.”106 Furthermore, Marvin Sweeney argues that
“reliability” or “steadfastness” provides the needed contrast between the stability of the
righteous in verse 4b and the instability of the arrogant man in verse 4a.107
An important question to consider is whether “faith in” and “faithfulness to” are
really very different in the biblical perspective. Armerding writes, “The discrepancy
between ‘faith’ and ‘faithfulness’ is more apparent than real, however. For man to be
faithful in righteousness entails dependent trust in relation to God; such an attitude is
clearly demanded in the present context of waiting for deliverance (2:3; 3:16–19). And
‘faith’ implies obedient commitment no less than trust.”108 Patterson notes a similar
105
Armerding, “Habakkuk,” 7:513.
Alfred Jepsen, “!m;a,' ” in Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament, 15
vols., ed. G. Johannes Botterweck, Helmer Ringgren, and Heinz-Josef Fabry, trans. John
T. Willis et al., 1:292–323 (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1974–2006), 1:318.
106
107
Sweeney, “Structure, Genre, and Intent in Habakkuk,” 76. Note also how verse
5a reinforces the image of instability for the wicked with references to !yIy,: dgb, and hwn
(ibid.).
108
Armerding, “Habakkuk,” 7:513. Similarly, Gowan claims that the concepts of
“faith” and “faithfulness” cannot be separated (Triumph of Faith, 43).
42
overlap between faith and faithfulness: “The LXX translators and the Hebrew author
have the same perspective: faith and faithfulness can be viewed as aspects of a living
reality—he who has faith will be faithful.”109 Because of the connection with Genesis
15:6, “the force of the words accordingly becomes all the stronger: a genuinely righteous
man will live out his faith in faithful activity.”110 James 2:14–26 emphatically states that
living faith is faithful faith. While a translation such as “steadfast faith” for hn"Wma/ in
Habakkuk 2:4b puts too much emphasis on faith, the faithfulness implied by the term is
surely a “faith-full faithfulness.” Nevertheless, the term places more emphasis on
faithfulness.
The meaning of hy<xy. I
The verb in this verse is hy<xy. I (“will live”). There are various ways to understand
this verb in this context. Does it mean that the righteous will survive the devastation to be
wrought by the Chaldeans? Does it mean that the righteous will “really live,” as opposed
to the mere existence of the wicked? Does it mean that the righteous will experience
eternal life? Mere survival may well have been on Habakkuk’s mind. That certainly
would have been a concern when God announced that Babylon would attack Judah.
Robertson writes, “Standing in sharpest contradiction to the ‘proud’ who are ‘not upright’
in themselves and therefore must die, the one who trusts God’s grace for his existence
109
Patterson, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, 221.
110
Ibid., 222.
43
every moment shall live. He shall survive the devastations of God’s judgment.”111
Similarly, Moberly states, “Yahweh . . . indicates that the only way for those committed
to him to survive the coming disaster is to maintain personal integrity or
‘faithfulness.’”112 However, Habakkuk’s complaint in chapter 1 was not about his own
survival; he was concerned about the vindication of God’s justice. God’s justice is not
always evident in the short term, and so this vindication comes from a long-term
perspective.113
Gowan observes that living was more than mere existence to the ancient Hebrews.
“One is not really alive when sick, weak, in danger or with a damaged reputation. To be
alive is to have vigor, security and honor. So this verse does not merely tell us how we
can barely hang on to some feeble thread of existence in times such as Habakkuk
111
Robertson, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah, 178.
112
Moberly, “!ma,” 1:430.
113
Furthermore, the final fulfillment of God’s judgment against Babylon did not
take place until several decades after Habakkuk 2:4 was written. By this time, many of
the righteous of Habakkuk’s day would have died a natural death, even if they had
survived the Babylonian invasion. If Habakkuk 2:4 provided hope only for this life, then
many righteous passed away before they saw God’s judgment of the wicked. Moreover,
one may wonder whether all the righteous of Judah really did survive the Babylonian
invasion. Certainly many did (such as Daniel, who was taken from the land, and
Jeremiah, who remained in the land). However, is it necessary to believe that no
righteous person perished during this time? On the other hand, Jeremiah 21:9; 38:2, 17
promises survival to anyone in Jerusalem who would go out to the Chaldeans (using the
same verb, hyx, used in Hab 2:4). In this case, if a righteous person heard Jeremiah and
faithfully listened to him, then he could escape with his life. The same offer of life may
have been available to other faithful Israelites outside of Jerusalem.
44
describes; no, it speaks of being richly and fully alive.”114 Gowan finds support for this
perspective in Habakkuk 3:17–19, where Habakkuk says that even when things get very
bad (v. 17), he still will praise the Lord (v. 18), since “the Lord GOD is my strength, and
He has made my feet like hinds’ feet, and makes me walk on my high places” (v. 19).
Habakkuk was looking not for mere survival, but for “abundant life.” Of course, what
Habakkuk may have wanted and what God promised in 2:4 may be different. Indeed,
3:17 implies that Habakkuk expected devastation, not abundant life.
Could God have meant more than temporal life when He promised Habakkuk that
the righteous would live? Wendland notes that Habakkuk did not explicitly state a belief
in life after death. However, “it seems to be definitely implied within the universal,
cosmic, and everlasting framework of divine justice that is so poetically expressed in
chaps. 2–3, for example, in passages such as 2:3, 2:14, and 3:17–18.”115 Wendland
believes it was typical of the prophets to convey the notion of an afterlife in “concrete,
down-to-earth imagery.” He finds many examples in the prophet Isaiah (2:1–5; 9:6–7;
11:1–16; 25:1–12; 27:1–13; 42:1–9; 49:1–7; 54–56; 60–62; 65:17–25). Wendland
continues, “The ‘good news’ of Habakkuk was undoubtedly based upon and presupposed
the more elaborate message of his prophetic predecessor.”116
114
Gowan, Triumph of Faith, 42–43. On the other hand, one should again
compare Jeremiah 21:9; 38:2, 17, in which “live” appears to mean merely “survive the
invasion.” See the previous footnote.
115
Wendland, “‘The Righteous Live by Their Faith,’” 611 n. 38.
116
Ibid.
45
David Reimer, however, asserts that Habakkuk 2:4 should be read along with
Ezekiel 33:10–16. He comments, “While the language of these passages is amenable to
notions of a future judgment, in their present contexts they assert that maintenance of sdq
affirms life in this world.”117 Reimer continues, “The saddiq, who maintains a faithful or
trustworthy lifestyle, is assured of divine approval and support. The woe oracles of Hab
2:6–19 make the opposite case.”118 However, when one reads Habakkuk 2:6–19, he notes
verse 14: “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the
waters cover the sea.” Surely this is an eschatological outlook.
Certainly God has an eschatological plan, but must 2:4 reflect this? The
immediate context deals with the temporal judgment of the Chaldeans, and Habakkuk’s
concern seems to be for the temporal vindication of God’s justice. The prophet is not
looking to heaven for all his problems to be resolved. It may be helpful to review Psalm
37 (for example) at this point. This psalm by David may well have been on Habakkuk’s
mind, as it addresses many of the same issues Habakkuk was facing. David encourages
his readers to trust in the Lord despite the apparent prosperity of the wicked. David
writes, “Those who wait for the LORD, they will inherit the land” (v. 9; cf. vv. 11, 22, 29,
34). The psalm includes a long-term perspective (see the references to “forever” in vv.
18, 28, 29), but eternal life is not the primary thrust. The context of Habakkuk calls for a
Reimer, “qdc,” 3:764; emphasis original. For detailed arguments that Ezekiel
33:12–19 refers to temporal life, see William D. Barrick, “Ezekiel 33:12–19 and Eternal
Security” (unpublished paper presented to the Evangelical Theological Society Far West
Region Annual Meeting, The Master’s Seminary, Sun Valley, Calif., April 20, 2007).
117
118
Ibid., 3:765.
46
similar outlook. While God’s plan includes eschatological life for the righteous, His
promise to Habakkuk addresses the righteous man’s survival of the Babylonian invasion.
Conclusion
After a careful consideration of a variety of approaches, the Masoretic Text of
Habakkuk 2:4 has been accepted. As the text stands, verse 4a refers to the Chaldeans
when it states, “His soul is puffed up, not upright, within him.” The wicked Chaldeans
would invade Judah, but they would not escape the judgment of the holy God, which is
made clear in the remaining verses of chapter 2. In sharp contrast to this, the Israelite who
stood righteous before God would survive the invasion by staying faithful to God.
CHAPTER THREE
EXEGESIS OF ROMANS 1:17
Now that the original meaning of Habakkuk 2:4 has been explored, the New
Testament quotations of this verse may be examined. Paul’s quotation of Habakkuk in
Romans 1:17 will be considered first.
Historical Context
The historical indicators in the Epistle to the Romans imply that the letter was
written by Paul sometime during (or just before) his journey from Greece to Jerusalem
recorded in Acts 20–21. Paul had collected funds from Macedonia and Achaia for poor
believers in Jerusalem. He planned to take the funds to Jerusalem, and then he would set
out on a missionary trip to Spain. On his way, he wanted to pass through Rome (Rom
15:24, 28). It is likely that Paul wrote to the church in Rome during the three months he
spent in Greece (Acts 20:2–3), probably from Corinth.1 This would have occurred
sometime between late AD 54 and early 59. A precise date is difficult to determine, but
Cranfield suggests that late 55/early 56 or late 56/early 57 is the most likely.2
1
C. E. B. Cranfield, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistle to the
Romans, 2 vols., International Critical Commentary (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1975–
79), 1:12.
2
Ibid., 1:16.
48
A church apparently had been established in Rome some years before. Perhaps
those believers in the center of the Gentile world wondered why the Apostle to the
Gentiles had never visited them. At any rate, Paul had completed his missionary work in
the east, and he now looked west to Spain. The church at Rome would be a good place to
find spiritual refreshment and financial support for his journey. It would be perfectly
natural for Paul to write to Rome to tell them of his plans as he took an extended detour
through Jerusalem.3
While Paul knew several of the believers in Rome (see Rom 16:3–15), there
probably were others he did not know personally; thus, it was appropriate for him to
introduce himself to them, especially since he sought their support for his future
missionary endeavors. Moreover, Paul would go to Rome as the Apostle to the Gentiles,
whose life’s work was the propagation of the gospel. Thus, the appropriate way to
introduce himself would be to offer an orderly summary of the gospel. Several factors
may have led him to pen a somewhat lengthy account, but it seems reasonable that Paul
allowed the inner logic of the gospel to drive the structure and content of the letter for the
most part.4
Context of Romans 1–3
After introducing himself in the first 15 verses of the epistle, Paul stated his
central theme: “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. For in it the
3
Ibid., 1:23.
4
Ibid., 2:817–18.
49
righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘But the righteous
man shall live by faith’” (Rom 1:16–17). Paul was writing about the righteousness of
God, which is available only in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
In verse 18 Paul began to explain why this gospel message was necessary: Men
are subject to the wrath of God. This is because men reject the true God in favor of a god
of their own making. As a result God, gives men over to impurity, homosexuality, and a
depraved mind, resulting in all kinds of wickedness (vv. 24–32).
After proving that God’s wrath against the pagans is just, Paul proceeded to
condemn the Jews in chapter 2. Finally, he summarized, “Both Jews and Greeks are all
under sin” (3:9). The verdict of the divine Judge is that all are accountable to God, and no
man will be justified by works (vv. 19–20). Beginning with 3:21, Paul provided the
solution to this grave problem. What men need is “the righteousness of God through faith
in Jesus Christ” (v. 23). Paul had now returned to his great theme.
Romans 1:16
Paul indicated his desire to go to Rome in Romans 1:10–15. Of all the things that
had prevented him from traveling to that city, being ashamed of the gospel was not one of
them. In verse 16, he explained why he had confidence in the gospel: “It is the power of
God for salvation.” The gospel may appear foolish to men (1 Cor 1:18), but God Himself
works through the gospel to redeem fallen men and women. His power is at work in
“everyone who believes.” Faith is fundamental to the gospel, and this message of
salvation and faith is available to both Jews and Gentiles. In the purposes of God, the
50
Jews had received the gospel message first, but God graciously extended the offer of
salvation to the Gentiles as well.
Romans 1:17
Verse 17 opens with an explanatory gavr. This verse explains why the gospel is
God’s saving power to all believers.5 The reason is that in the gospel6 “the righteousness
of God is revealed.”
The Righteousness of God
Commentators have understood the phrase “righteousness of God” (dikaiosuvnh
qeou') in various ways, based upon the precise meaning of the genitive inflectional form
of qeou'.
God’s righteousness
Many in the early church understood this as a possessive genitive, so that the
“righteousness of God” referred to God’s attribute of righteousness.7 Support for this
view was found in the references to the “righteousness of God” in Romans 3:5, 25–26. In
5
Douglas J. Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, New International Commentary on
the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1996), 69; Thomas R. Schreiner,
Romans, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Mich.:
Baker, 1998), 62.
6
The Greek ejn aujtw'/ usually is understood as referring to the gospel; indeed, the
gospel is the central idea of verses 15 and 16. One scholar suggests that it does not refer
to the gospel but to pisteuvonti. “Im Gläubigen wird die Gerechtigkeit Gottes offenbar”
(Otto Glombitza, “Von der Scham des Gläubigen: Erwägungen zu Rom. I 14–17,”
Novum Testamentum 4 [1960]: 79). The context, however, favors a reference to the
gospel.
7
Moo, Romans, 70.
51
modern times, Sam Williams has argued that this was the understanding of the phrase in
the Septuagint. He does not see the “righteousness of God” as parallel to God’s saving
activity (as will be the case for other commentators; see below); instead, Williams argues
from Psalms and Isaiah that God’s righteousness is the basis for His saving activity.8 This
understanding of the Old Testament may be correct, but the context of Romans must be
the deciding factor. Godet provides two reasons to reject the view that God’s attribute of
righteousness is intended in Romans 1:17: “Before the gospel this perfection was already
distinctly revealed by the law; and the prophetic words which Paul immediately quotes:
‘The just shall live by faith,’ prove that in his view this justice of God is a condition of
man, not a divine attribute.”9
Righteousness valid before God
Francis Watson understands the “righteousness of God” as “righteousness valid
before God.” He interprets verse 17a as an interpretive gloss on Habakkuk 2:4b, so the
righteousness Paul speaks of is approved by God because it is found in the prophetic
text.10 Whatever the “righteousness of God” means in Romans 1:17, this righteousness is
certainly approved by God. However, the genitive (or ablative) qeou' suggests a more
precise interpretation.
8
Sam K. Williams, “The ‘Righteousness of God’ in Romans,” Journal of Biblical
Literature 99/2 (June 1980): 260–62.
9
F. Godet, Commentary on St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, 2 vols., trans. A.
Cusin (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, n.d.), 1:154.
10
Francis Watson, Paul and the Hermeneutics of Faith (Edinburgh: T. & T.
Clark, 2004), 48–49.
52
God-righteousness
John Murray speaks of “God-righteousness,” not just righteousness of God as
opposed to human unrighteousness, but righteousness of God as opposed to righteousness
of man.11 He says that “righteousness which proceeds from God,” “righteousness which
God approves,” “righteousness that avails with God,” etc., all are true, but do not capture
the right focus.12 Instead, this righteousness is “characterized by the perfection belonging
to all that God is and does."13 Murray does not classify the grammatical purpose of qeou';
perhaps he intends a genitive of quality. One does not want to force Paul into a modern
grammatical mold, but one should be able to make sense of the syntax. As with Watson’s
interpretation, the form of qeou' should be understood more precisely than Murray
indicates.
Saving activity of God
Most modern commentators discuss two main views. Many understand qeou' as a
subjective genitive, so that the “righteousness of God” is an activity of God (hereafter
referred to as “View 1”).14 Others see qeou' as an ablative of source, so that the
11
John Murray, The Epistle to the Romans, 2 vols., New International
Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1959; reprinted in
1 vol., Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1968), 1:31.
12
Ibid., 1:30.
13
Ibid., 1:31.
14
For example, Joseph A. Fitzmyer, Romans: A New Translation with
Introduction and Commentary, Anchor Bible 33 (New York: Doubleday, 1993), 257; G.
N. Davies, Faith and Obedience in Romans: A Study in Romans 1–4, Journal for the
Study of the New Testament Supplement Series 39 (Sheffield, Eng.: JSOT Press, 1990),
53
“righteousness of God” refers to man’s righteous status resulting from God’s act of
justifying (hereafter referred to as “View 2”).15 Finally, some suggest that a combination
of these two views is correct.16 First, consider the arguments for and against View 1.
Arguments from the Old Testament
Moo asserts that View 1 has the strongest Old Testament support.17 Indeed, the
Septuagint translations of Psalms and Isaiah have “many places . . . where God’s
‘righteousness’ refers to his salvific intervention on behalf of his people.”18 However, C.
K. Barrett cautions, “The importance of these passages should not be exaggerated. In
them, God vindicates those who deserve to be vindicated; in Paul, he justifies—the
36–37; Douglas A. Campbell, “Romans 1:17—A Crux Interpretum for the PISTIS
CRISTOU Debate,” Journal of Biblical Literature 113/2 (Summer 1994): 270.
15
For example, S. Lewis Johnson Jr., “The Gospel That Paul Preached,”
Bibliotheca Sacra 128/512 (October 1971): 333 n. 11; Godet, Romans, 1:159; Mark A.
Seifrid, Justification by Faith: The Origin and Development of a Central Pauline Theme,
Supplements to Novum Testamentum 68 (Leiden, Neth.: E. J. Brill, 1992), 216; Anders
Nygren, Commentary on Romans, trans. Carl C. Rasmussen (Philadelphia: Muhlenberg
Press, 1949), 74–75.
16
For example, Moo, Romans, 74; William Sanday and Arthur C. Headlam, A
Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans, 5th ed., International
Critical Commentary (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1902), 25.
17
18
Moo, Romans, 72–73.
Ibid., 71. However, recall the assertion of Williams, mentioned above, that
God’s righteousness is the basis of His saving activity, rather than an equivalent to it.
Also note that the exact phrase “righteousness of God” does not occur in the Old
Testament, but 48 times, mainly in Psalms and Isaiah, the Septuagint has “righteousness”
with a personal pronoun referring to God (ibid.).
54
ungodly.”19 One should also note Psalm 97 (LXX), where verses 2–3 speak of
righteousness in connection with salvation and faithfulness (to Israel), but then verse 9
speaks of judging the world “in righteousness.” Also, Isaiah 51:4–8 connects salvation
and righteousness, but then it has a contrast with the inhabitants of the earth who will
perish. Thus, “divine righteousness is not universally and unequivocally salvific in these
texts.”20 Furthermore, Paul did not cite Psalms or Isaiah; he cited Habakkuk. If View 1 is
correct, then “Paul’s actual citation of Habakkuk 2:4 is a wasted opportunity to make
clear what he meant by ‘the righteousness of God.’”21
In a similar vein, Dunn sees “righteousness” as equal to “covenant faithfulness.”
He claims that in Psalms and Isaiah “the logic of covenant grace is followed through with
the result that righteousness and salvation become virtually synonymous: the
righteousness of God as God’s act to restore his own and to sustain them within the
covenant.”22 However, Schreiner observes that the arguments for this view are not strong.
He notes that “righteousness” and “covenant” rarely occur together in the Old Testament,
and he concludes that they are related but not equal.23 Moreover, “the interpretation of
dikaiosuvnh qeou' as a reference to God’s covenant faithfulness alone [in Rom 1:17] . . . is
19
C. K. Barrett, The Epistle to the Romans, rev. ed., Black’s New Testament
Commentary (London: A & C Black, 1991), 30 n. 1.
20
Seifrid, Justification by Faith, 217.
21
Watson, Hermeneutics of Faith, 50.
22
James D. G. Dunn, Romans 1–8, Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas: Word
Books, 1988), 41.
23
Schreiner, Romans, 69.
55
insufficient, since it fails to explain the clear anthropological moment, expressed by oJ de;
divkaio" ejk pivstew" zhvsetai.”24
Arguments from the context
Commentators also claim that View 1 makes better sense with the use of “reveal”
in this verse.25 Schreiner writes, “It is more natural to speak of a divine action being
revealed than it is to speak of a new status being disclosed.”26 Similarly, D. H. van
Daalen asserts, “Surely, revelation as Paul understood it, is not a matter of the disclosure
of certain truths: revelation is this that God reveals himself.”27
This view might also make a better parallel with the revelation of God’s wrath
(ojrgh; qeou', where ojrghv is an activity of God and qeou' is a subjective genitive) spoken of
in verse 18.28 However, Williams claims, “It would be impossible to show that the object
24
Seifrid, Justification by Faith, 214–15.
25
Moo, Romans, 73.
26
Schreiner, Romans, 65. It is interesting that Schreiner finds support for this
view in Romans 3:21 (“the righteousness of God has been manifested”), but Morris cites
this same verse as an argument for View 2 (Leon Morris, The Epistle to the Romans,
Pillar New Testament Commentary [Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1988], 103).
27
D. H. Van Daalen, “The Revelation of God’s Righteousness in Romans 1:17,”
in Studia Biblica 1978, vol. 3, Papers on Paul and Other New Testament Authors, ed. E.
A. Livingstone, 383–89, Journal for the Study of the New Testament Supplement Series 3
(Sheffield, Eng.: JSOT Press, 1980), 386.
28
Moo, Romans, 73; Schreiner, Romans, 65; Fitzmyer, Romans, 262. Ladd,
however, argues that View 2 makes a better contrast with verse 18: “Wrath expresses the
way God views sinners. Men in their natural state are ‘children of wrath’ (Eph. 2:3). By
way of contrast, the ‘righteousness of God’ is the way God views the man of faith. He is
no longer a child of wrath; he is a child of love. Righteousness then is that status which
God reveals, which comes from God, which is to be apprehended by faith, which God
56
of the verb apokalyptein in other Pauline texts is ever activity.”29 Verse 16 describes the
gospel as the saving power of God. Schreiner says, “Since the power of God that leads to
salvation is a description of his activity, it is likely that dikaiosuvnh qeou' should be
interpreted similarly.”30 While View 1 does provide nice parallels between verses 16, 17,
and 18, this is not a conclusive argument.31 Moreover, View 1 makes a close connection
with verse 16, while ignoring the closer connection with 17b. According to Watson, the
“righteousness of God” is connected not with the “power of God,” but with “salvation” in
verse 16.32
The next time a similar phrase occurs in Romans (qeou' dikaiosuvnhn in 3:5), qeou'
must be a subjective genitive.33 However, a phrase does not always have to mean the
same thing in Paul, so this argument is also inconclusive.34 Moreover, Seifrid notes that a
subjective genitive must modify a noun of action, “but dikaiosuvnh is not derived directly
can accept” (George Eldon Ladd, “Righteousness in Romans,” Southwestern Journal of
Theology 19/1 [Fall 1976]: 10).
29
Williams, “Righteousness of God,” 258 (emphasis original).
30
Schreiner, Romans, 66; similarly, Fitzmyer, Romans, 262.
31
Cranfield, Romans, 1:97.
32
Watson, Hermeneutics of Faith, 50.
33
Cranfield, Romans, 1:96.
34
Ibid., 1:97.
57
from a verb: it denotes the abstract quality or state of being divkaio".”35 Thus, Seifrid
implies that it would be unusual for dikaiosuvnh to occur with a subjective genitive.
Finally, according to View 1, the “righteousness of God” is essentially the same
as “the power of God unto salvation” (v. 16). Thus, Paul is not ashamed of the gospel
because it is God’s power to salvation, for God’s saving activity is revealed in it. This
seems like a tautology, unless perhaps one puts the emphasis on faith (“the gospel is
God’s salvific power to everyone who believes, for in it God’s saving activity is revealed
by faith to faith”). While faith certainly is emphasized in this context, Paul does not seem
to be saying that he is not ashamed of the gospel because the gospel is based on faith.
Instead, he seems to be saying that he is not ashamed of the gospel because God is in the
gospel.
Righteousness from God
View 2 (which reads qeou' as an ablative of source) also has many arguments in its
favor. This view will prove preferable in the end.
Arguments from the context
First, imputation is in the context of Romans. In particular, Paul discusses
justification in detail in 3:21–31, and then in chapter 4 he provides the example of
Abraham, who was also justified by faith. Romans 5:17 speaks of the “gift of
righteousness” (th'" dwrea'" th'" dikaiosuvnh"). Moo notes, “‘Righteousness’ is used most
often in Romans to denote the ‘gift of righteousness’ (5:17)—a righteous status that God
35
Seifrid, Justification by Faith, 215.
58
bestows on the one who believes.”36 View 2 also fits the immediate context. “The
following reference to faith seems to show that the righteousness that God gives is
primarily in mind, as does the quotation from Habakkuk.”37
Moreover, the “righteousness of God” is said to be “revealed” in the gospel.
Morris asserts, “It is something new, not simply a repetition of Old Testament truth.”38
Morris believes this favors View 2. However, justification by faith was certainly not a
new revelation of the gospel, as the case of Abraham demonstrates. Davies claims, “What
is new, however, is the righteousness of God in his saving activity. Previously promised
through the prophets (1.2), God’s gospel of righteousness has now been manifested in the
person of Jesus (cf. 3.21).”39 However, it is not clear that Paul intended the revelation of
the “righteousness of God” to be understood as new revelation. In fact, his citation of
Habakkuk would seem to imply the opposite. Paul did not say that the righteousness of
God had not been revealed previously. He did say that in the age of Christ it is revealed
in the gospel.
Arguments from parallel passages
A firmer foundation for View 2 is provided by a comparison with other passages.
Philippians 3:9 has the phrase th;n ejk qeou' dikaiosuvnhn, which makes the source idea
36
Moo, Romans, 73; cf. Cranfield, 1:98, who notes that th'" dikaiosuvnh" is an
objective genitive in Romans 5:17.
37
Morris, Romans, 69; similarly, Moo, Romans, 73; Cranfield, Romans, 1:98.
38
Morris, Romans, 69.
39
Davies, Faith and Obedience in Romans, 43.
59
explicit by including the preposition.40 Of course, Paul did not include the preposition ejk
in Romans 1:17. Perhaps he wanted to avoid two different uses of ejk in the same clause,
one indicating source (“from God”) and the other indicating means (“by faith”; see
further on ejk pivstew" below), although he might have used ajpov instead. However, 2
Corinthians 5:21 uses the phrase dikaiosuvnh qeou' (without a preposition) in a context in
which man’s status of imputed righteousness is surely in view. Thus, Paul did not feel
that a preposition was necessary to convey the source idea.41
Arguments from verse 17
The best argument for View 2 is the connection between Romans 1:17a and 17b.
Watson carefully examines the introductory phrase “as it is written” (kaqw;" gevgraptai).
He concludes:
The relation of this scriptural citation to its antecedent (the statement about the
righteousness of God) is often misunderstood. Far from being a secondary
confirmation of a freestanding dogmatic assertion, the citation from Habakkuk 2.4
actually generates its antecedent. This prophetic text is the matrix from which
Paul’s own assertion derives. Conversely, the antecedent amplifies the citation: it
is commentary, an expository gloss on the prophetic text. The exegetical problems
posed by the antecedent should not be treated in abstraction from the citation;
antecedent and citation are interdependent.42
40
One should also compare 1 Corinthians 1:30, which speaks of righteousness
ajpo; qeou'.
41
A. T. Robertson notes that the ablative is “rare with substantives”; in fact, he
says regarding qeou' as an ablative of source in Romans 1:17 is “not probably correct” (A
Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research, 4th ed.
[Nashville: Broadman Press, 1934], 514). He understands the “righteousness of God”
here as “the righteousness which God has and wishes to bestow on us” (ibid., 499).
42
Watson, Hermeneutics of Faith, 43, emphasis original.
60
One need not accept all of Watson’s claims, but the connection between the righteousness
of God in 17a and the righteous one in 17b is plain. In fact, Watson notes an “unusually
close” connection between the quotation and its antecedent in verse 17. “Nowhere else in
Romans are lexical connections between antecedent and citation as significant as they are
here.”43 Since oJ divkaio" refers to a person who has been pronounced legally righteous
before God, the dikaiosuvnh qeou' should be understood in this light. Although Watson
himself interprets this connection in a different way, it seems to be an equally strong
argument for View 2.
Arguments against this view
Cranfield notes three arguments against View 2.44 First, it is alleged that View 2
isolates the gift from the giver. This is simply not the case. Second, View 2 is seen to
provide an anthropocentric rather than a theocentric view of the gospel. However, Paul
could have a theocentric gospel and still refer to man’s status of righteousness. Third,
View 2 is said to be individualistic. This objection seems to arise from presupposed
theology rather than exegesis. The individual certainly is in the context: “to everyone
[singular] who believes” (v. 16), “to the Jew [singular]” (v. 16), “to the Greek [singular]”
(v. 16), and “the righteous [singular]” (v. 17).
43
Ibid., 48.
44
Cranfield, Romans, 1:99.
61
Combination view
Finally, some scholars combine Views 1 and 2. Moo defines the “righteousness of
God” as “the act by which God brings people into right relationship with himself.”45
Barrett says it is impossible to keep Views 1 and 2 separate: “God’s saving action
consists precisely in conferring on man a state of righteousness (that is, in justifying
him).”46 Sanday and Headlam say, “The very cogency of the arguments on both sides is
enough to show that the two views which we have set over against each other are not
mutually exclusive but rather inclusive.”47 Moo supports this position with three
arguments: (1) “It is built on the most frequent meaning of the phrase in the OT,” (2) “It
does justice to the nuances of both divine activity and human receptivity that occur in the
text,” and (3) “It enables us to relate the phrase to Paul’s broader use of ‘righteousness,’
where he frequently highlights the end result of the process of justification in the
believer’s status of righteousness.”48 On the other hand, this compromise position seems
to violate the single-meaning principle. Cranfield asserts, “It is surely more likely that
Paul meant to focus attention either on the one or on the other, though it is of course true
that a direct reference to either carries with it an indirect reference to the other.”49
likely.”
45
Moo, Romans, 74.
46
Barrett, Romans, 31.
47
Sanday and Headlam, Romans, 25.
48
Moo, Romans, 75.
49
Cranfield, Romans, 1:98 n. 1. Cranfield does not explain why “it is surely more
62
Conclusion
The phrase dikaiosuvnh qeou' might refer to God’s saving activity or man’s status
of righteousness. Both are consistent with Pauline theology, and both are important
aspects of the gospel. In fact, there is no reason to assume that the phrase always means
the same thing, even within Romans. Thus, the near context must decide between Views
1 and 2. The decision comes down to this: if one sees the similar constructions in verses
16, 17, and 18 as parallel, then he should choose View 1, but if one wishes to connect
verse 17a with verse 17b, then he should choose View 2. Rather than assuming parallels
that Paul may not have intended, it seems better to allow verse 17b to inform one’s
interpretation of 17a. Since Paul introduces the quotation with “as it is written,” he must
intend a close connection with what has gone before. Therefore, View 2 is more likely;
qeou' is an ablative of source, and the “righteousness of God” refers to righteousness from
God.
Therefore, in the gospel God reveals that man can be righteous before Him. While
some claim that one is actually made righteous, Paul was referring primarily to the God’s
forensic declaration of one as righteous. Morris notes, “Among the Hebrews
righteousness was first and foremost a legal standing. The righteous were those who
secured the verdict when they stood before God.”50 Johnson observes, “The apostle,
therefore, by the term ‘the righteousness of God’ refers to an imputed righteousness. It is
the work of God in Christ, that which the Mediator did and suffered to satisfy the
50
Morris, Romans, 101.
63
demands of divine justice (cf. 3:24–25).”51 However, God’s declaration is not in vain. As
Schreiner puts it, the righteousness of God is “both forensic and transformative.”52 In
other words, sanctification is the natural result of justification. Paul made this clear as he
developed his arguments in Romans.
Righteousness Revealed
Paul stated that the righteousness from God is “revealed” in the gospel. Morris
remarks, “It is not something that people know naturally or can find out for themselves.
Unless God makes it known they will never discover it.”53 Moo observes that this
revelation can be understood in one of two ways: (1) “cognitive, . . . an ‘uncovering’ to
the intellect of various truths relating to God’s purposes,” or (2) “historical, . . . the
‘uncovering’ of God’s redemptive plan as it unfolds on the plane of human history.”54
Moo prefers the “historical” view, since “this is the most frequent meaning of the verb in
Paul, and it matches the most likely meaning of ‘reveal’ in 1:18 and the related statement
in 3:21.”55
The present-tense verb ajpokaluvptetai indicates that the revelation of the
righteousness from God is ongoing as the gospel is preached. Johnson suggests, “The
present tense is frequentive in force. The righteousness is revealed as a saving power at
51
Johnson, “The Gospel,” 334.
52
Schreiner, Romans, 66.
53
Morris, Romans, 69–70.
54
Moo, Romans, 69.
55
Ibid.
64
every occurrence of faith.”56 However, it is noteworthy that this verb “is an
eschatological term in Paul (Rom. 1:18; 8:18; 1 Cor. 3:13; Gal. 3:23; 2 Thess. 2:3, 6, 8),
denoting an eschatological event that has invaded history.”57 Moreover, this “invasion” is
efficacious. According to Murray, Paul “means that in the gospel the righteousness of
God is actively and dynamically brought to bear upon man’s sinful situation.”58
jEk Pivstew" Eij" Pivstin
Paul wrote that the righteousness from God is revealed ejk pivstew" eij" pivstin.
There are two problems regarding this phrase. First, should it be connected with the noun
dikaiosuvnh, or should it be connected with the verb ajpokaluvptetai? Second, what
exactly does it mean? Regarding the syntactical issue, some believe Paul was referring to
“righteousness by faith.” The parallels with Romans 3:21–22 support this position. There,
Paul wrote “righteousness from God has been manifested . . . the righteousness of God
through faith [dia; pivstew"].” He used a different preposition (diav instead of ejk), but he
repeated “righteousness” to make it clear that “through faith” modifies “righteousness”
and not the verb “has been manifested.” Some scholars believe that the same connection
between the noun and the prepositional phrase is found in the Habakkuk quotation of
Romans 1:17.59 However, this connection is also disputed (see below). Moo finds
56
Johnson, “The Gospel,” 335 n. 21.
57
Schreiner, Romans, 62.
58
Murray, Romans, 1:29.
59
For example, Moo, Romans, 75; Cranfield, Romans, 1:100.
65
additional support in “Paul’s persistent linking of righteousness words with faith
throughout Rom. 1–4.”60
Those who favor the connection “revealed ejk pivstew"” can find support in the
word order.61 Other arguments depend on one’s understanding of the meaning of the
phrase ejk pivstew" eij" pivstin. The parallel with 3:21–22 is important, but more important
is the parallel with 1:17b. Below it will be argued that ejk pivstew" modifies the verb in
the Habakkuk quotation, and thus it likely does the same in verse 17a.
What exactly did Paul mean by ejk pivstew" eij" pivstin? There are at least 11
suggested interpretations, but many can be rather easily rejected by noting that ejk
pivstew" should be understood in the same sense in verse 17a as in 17b.
Views that understand ejk pivstew" in different ways
Douglas Campbell notes that Paul used the phrase ejk pivstew" 21 times in Romans
and Galatians, the very letters in which he quoted Habakkuk 2:4 (where the phrase
appears), but Paul used this phrase in no other letters. Campbell does not think this is a
coincidence; instead, he believes that the use in Habakkuk motivated the other uses.62
This observation refutes the following views:63 (1) “from the faith of the OT to the faith
60
Moo, Romans, 75.
61
Morris, Romans, 70; Seifrid, Justification by Faith, 218.
62
Campbell, “Romans 1:17,” 268.
63
The statements of these views are taken from Cranfield, Romans, 1:99–100,
although not in order. Most of these views find little support today.
66
of the NT” or “from the faith of the law to the faith of the gospel,”64 (2) “from the faith of
the preachers to the faith of the hearers,” (3) “from faith in one article to faith in another,”
(4) “from present faith to future,” (5) “from the faith of words (whereby we now believe
what we do not see) to the faith of the things, that is, realities (whereby we shall hereafter
possess what we now believe in,” and (6) it refers to growing faith.65 Schreiner also notes
that these views attempt to “squeeze more meaning out of the phrase than is warranted”;
instead, “the interpretation that adds the least to the meaning of the passage should be
preferred.”66
Views that understand a reference to God or Christ
Another approach understands the phrase to mean “from God’s faithfulness to
man’s faith” or “from Christ’s faithfulness to man’s faith.” These views understand the
word pivsti" in two different ways in the same phrase, but Dunn notes that it is a
characteristic of good style to play on the double meaning of a word that has such a
double meaning. He also asserts, “Following a verb like ‘reveal’ the ejk is more naturally
to be understood as denoting the source of the revelation and the eij" as denoting that to
which the revelation is directed.” Dunn observes that the next reference to pivsti" in
64
Moreover, the context does not compare the old and new dispensations (Godet,
Romans, 1:160). One modern scholar argues for this position; see Charles L. Quarles,
“From Faith to Faith: A Fresh Examination of the Prepositional Series in Romans 1:17,”
Novum Testamentum 45/1 (2003): 1–21.
65
Sanday and Headlam (Romans, 28) say this refers both to deepening faith in the
individual and to the spread of faith in the world. Both Johnson (“The Gospel,” 336) and
Godet (Romans, 1:160) note that the idea of growing faith does not fit the context.
66
Schreiner, Romans, 72.
67
Romans (3:3) is to God’s faithfulness, and the faithfulness of God is a theme of
Romans.67 Davies argues, “It is not human faith that reveals God’s righteousness, but
God’s faithfulness in the fulfillment of his salvific purposes for Jew and Gentile alike.”68
To make this view fit the Habakkuk quotation, some understand a reference to
God’s faithfulness there as well. Dunn claims that Paul intended the ejk pivstew" in the
Habakkuk 2:4 quotation to be ambiguous, so that it involves both God’s faithfulness and
man’s faith.69 Wilbur Wallis follows the Septuagint and sees a reference to God’s
faithfulness in Habakkuk itself.70 However, the Masoretic Text, which refers to the
faithfulness of the righteous man, was preferred above. Moreover, if Paul wished to
follow the Septuagint, he would not have omitted the pronoun mou, which makes the
reference to God’s faithfulness explicit. Paul’s inclusion of dev, which is superfluous in the
context of Romans, implies that he was quoting the Septuagint. His omission of mou
would support the view that he did not see a reference to God’s faithfulness in Habakkuk.
Furthermore, a reference to God’s faithfulness is “out of harmony with the context. God’s
faithfulness is a genuine truth, and it is surely involved in man’s justification, but the
stress of the passage rests upon man’s faith, not His faithfulness.”71
67
Dunn, Romans 1–8, 44. Dunn’s equation “righteousness of God” = “God’s
covenant faithfulness” also would support his view, but this equation was rejected above.
68
Davies, Faith and Obedience in Romans, 43.
69
Dunn, Romans, 44.
70
Wilber B. Wallis, “The Translation of Romans 1:17: A Basic Motif in
Paulinism,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 16/1 (Winter 1973): 21.
71
Johnson, “The Gospel,” 336.
68
Campbell argues for the meaning “from Christ’s faithfulness to man’s faith.”72
According to Campbell, this makes verse 17 theocentric without having the contextual
problems of the above view, which sees a reference to God’s faithfulness.73 However, his
view requires a messianic interpretation of Habakkuk 2:4 (at least by Paul). Thus,
Campbell argues that “the righteous” is a title for Christ.74 In addition to violating the
context of Habakkuk (which, in the context of this thesis, cannot be ruled out a priori),
Campbell’s understanding does not work with Paul’s own use of Habakkuk 2:4 in
Galatians 3:11 (see chapter 4 below). Moreover, “There is no evidence that Paul
employed the term oJ divkaio" as a messianic title.”75 Christ’s faithfulness is a part of the
gospel, but after speaking of “everyone who believes [pisteuvonti],” it is natural to
understand “faith” [pivstew"] as referring to this same belief.76
View that faith is the ground and goal of righteousness
Sam Williams has more contextual support for the view that the phrase ejk
pivstew" eij" pivstin indicates that the righteousness from God has faith both as its ground
and as its goal. This view understands ejk pivstew" in the same way as in the Habakkuk
quotation, and it understands eij" in the same way as in Romans 1:5 and 1:16, indicating
72
Campbell, “Romans 1:17,” 280–81.
73
Ibid., 280.
74
Ibid., 282–83.
75
Schreiner, Romans, 74.
76
Ibid., 72.
69
the goal.77 Johnson claims that this view agrees with the force of the similar constructions
in 2 Corinthians 2:16, although this is disputable (see below).78 One might even argue for
a closer connection with verse 5. Dunn’s suggestion, noted above, was that Paul was
playing on the different meanings of the word pivsti". In that case, perhaps the phrase
means “by faith for faithfulness.” In other words, eij" pivstin in verse 16 could mean the
same thing as eij" uJpakoh;n pivstew" in verse 5. (Note also the same phrase in 16:26,
which shows that the idea is a theme of the epistle.) This would fit nicely in the context
of Romans, where Paul discusses both justification and sanctification. On the other hand,
1:5 is somewhat removed from verse 16, both spatially and contextually. Moreover, this
view finds little support in 3:21–22, which seems to parallel 1:17.
View that understands eij" pivstin as “to believers”
This parallel is maintained quite well with the view of Murray, in which the first
phrase means “by faith” and the second is an instance of the abstract used for the
concrete, almost equivalent to eij" pavnta" tou;" pisteuvonta" (3:22). Murray notes, “‘To
faith’ underlines the truth that every believer is the beneficiary whatever his race or
culture or the degree of his faith.” Paul had just made this same point in verse 16.79 Godet
rejects this view, because “Paul is not concerned with the person appropriating, but solely
77
Williams, “Righteousness of God,” 256.
78
Johnson, “The Gospel,” 337.
79
Murray, Romans, 1:32.
70
with the instrument of appropriation.”80 However, this is merely an opinion, and the
reference to “everyone who believes” in verse 16 seems to imply otherwise. Charles
Quarles admits that this view has “several merits,” but he does not think that Romans
1:17 has the same emphasis on “all.” According to Quarles, if Paul wanted to emphasize
“all,” he would have used different language (as elsewhere in Romans).81 Once again,
this is merely his opinion of what Paul “would have done.” The reference to “everyone”
in verse 16, which is picked up again in 3:22, shows that the idea is not foreign to the
context.
View that understands a rhetorical formulation
The final view to be considered is supported by many modern interpreters. This
view takes the phrase as simply a rhetorical formulation to put special emphasis on ejk
pivstew", the second phrase being practically equivalent to the “sola” of “sola fide.”82
Morris notes, “The centrality of faith is important and must be clearly seen.”83 Faith is
indeed central in this passage, but there would be emphasis on faith without this alleged
rhetorical flourish. Moo claims that the parallel construction in 2 Corinthians 2:16 should
also be understood in this emphatic sense,84 but as noted above, there is some
80
Godet, Romans, 1:161.
81
Quarles, “From Faith to Faith,” 15.
82
Cranfield, Romans, 1:100. Cf. Morris (Romans, 70): “faith through and
through”; Barrett (Romans, 31): “faith from start to finish.”
83
Morris, Romans, 70.
84
Moo, Romans, 76.
71
disagreement about this. In fact, Johnson claims, “Parallels to this type of expression are
hard to find.”85 Moreover, Davies asserts that this view does not do justice to the
revelation of God’s righteousness.86 Perhaps the definitive argument against this view
was provided by Quarles. He used the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae to find all occurrences
of the construction ejk + A + eij" + A in texts dating from the Homeric era to AD 600
(excluding biblical texts and quotations thereof). He found about 340 occurrences. He
found no examples to support this popular interpretation of Romans 1:17 (i.e., that the
construction is emphatic).87
The variety of views explored above demonstrates the difficulty of properly
understanding this phrase. However, most of the views have good arguments against
them. Therefore, Murray’s view seems to be the most likely: “by faith to those of faith.”
As It Is Written
Regardless of which view is correct, it is clear that Paul emphasizes faith in
connection with the righteousness from God. In support of this, he cites Habakkuk 2:4,
where divkaio" and pivsti" are found together.88 An important issue in understanding
Paul’s use of this quotation is the place of ejk pivstew" in the sentence. Should it be
connected with the verb zhvsetai or with the substantive divkaio"?
85
Johnson, “The Gospel,” 337.
86
Davies, Faith and Obedience in Romans, 43.
87
Quarles, “From Faith to Faith,” 8.
88
It is clear from the context of Romans (and Galatians) that here Paul used
pivsti" to refer to “faith,” while Habakkuk 2:4 refers to “faithfulness” in the original
Hebrew. The significance of this will be considered in chapter 5.
72
Connecting ejk pivstew" with the verb
There are several arguments for connecting ejk pivstew" with the verb. First, this
connection is made in Habakkuk in both the Masoretic Text and the Septuagint. Paul (and
his readers) would naturally know of this connection, although some claim that Paul can
quote the Old Testament with “considerable freedom.”89 Morris notes that Greek
grammar also favors this connection, if only slightly.90 Some argue that zhvsetai is weak
without ejk pivstew", but Cranfield objects that this misunderstands the importance of this
verb in Romans.91 Hendriksen claims, “The phrase ejk pivstew" here in verse 17b
corresponds to the same phrase in the earlier part of the verse. There too it belongs to the
predicate, not the subject.”92 As was seen above, this claim is disputed.
Hendriksen also believes this connection makes more sense in the quotation of
Habakkuk 2:4 in Galatians 3:11, where “live by faith” is contrasted with “live by the
law.”93 However, Williams argues that a connection with the substantive fits better in
Galatians. His argument is based on the relationship between 3:11a and 3:11b.94 On the
89
Cranfield, Romans, 1:102.
90
Morris, Romans, 71.
91
Cranfield, Romans, 1:102.
92
William Hendriksen, Exposition of Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, New
Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker, 1981), 64 n. 31.
93
Ibid.; cf. D. Moody Smith Jr., “O DE DIKAIOS EK PISTEWS ZHSETAI,” in
Studies and Documents XXIX: Studies in the History and Text of the New Testament in
Honor of K. W. Clark, ed. Boyd L. Daniels and M. Jack Suggs, 13–25 (Salt Lake City:
University of Utah Press, 1967), 19.
94
Williams, “Righteousness of God,” 257 n. 49.
73
other hand, Cavallin observes Paul’s use of Leviticus 18:5 in Galatians 3:12, and he
argues for “live by faith” in verse 11.95 Thus, this argument must wait until detailed
exegesis of Galatians 3:11 has been done. Moreover, the context of Romans is a more
important factor for one’s understanding of Romans 1:17.
Against the connection of ejk pivstew" with the verb is the fact that Paul connects
righteousness and faith throughout the context, whereas he “is not talking about the way
God’s people should live.”96 In fact, in Romans 3:22, 26, 30; 4:11, 13; 5:1; 9:30; 10:6
Paul connects righteousness or justification with faith.97 However, these passages are not
ambiguous. Moo observes, “Paul in Rom. 1–8 consistently links faith with righteousness
(cf. the summary in 5:1) and shows how ‘life’ is the product of that righteousness (cf.
5:18 and 8:10).”98 Surely few would question the connection between righteousness and
faith in Paul’s theology; the issue is Paul’s understanding and use of Habakkuk.
Connecting ejk pivstew" with the noun
One of the most cited arguments for the connection “righteous by faith” is the
structure of the epistle.99 It is claimed that Romans 1:18–4:21 explains “righteous by
95
H. C. C. Cavallin, “‘The Righteous Shall Live by Faith,’ A Decisive Argument
for the Traditional Interpretation,” Studia Theologica 32 (1978): 37–8. Cavallin also
considers Paul’s reference to Leviticus 18:5 in Romans 10:5 (ibid., 40–2).
96
Morris, Romans, 71.
97
Cranfield, Romans, 1:102; Watson, Hermeneutics of Faith, 51 n. 54.
98
Moo, Romans, 78.
99
For example, see Nygren (Romans, 86), Cranfield (Romans, 1:102), and Morris,
(Romans, 71–72).
74
faith,” while 5:1–8:39 discusses “will live.” The vocabulary supports this assertion.
Nygren found that “faith words” occur frequently in the first section and infrequently in
the second, but the reverse is true for “life words.”100 Moody Smith sees this as the “most
compelling reason” to connect “righteous” and “by faith,” although he is not persuaded.
Smith notes, “[Feuillet] demonstrated with somewhat more precision [than Nygren] that
the concepts and terms of righteousness (justification) and faith are quite prominent in
chapters 1–4 and rather rare in chapters 5–8, while exactly the reverse is true with respect
to those pertaining to life and death. The shift in terminology is impressive and
undeniable.”101 However, Smith also argues that this does not determine the
interpretation of the Habakkuk quotation. Moreover, this ignores chapters 9–11 and 12–
15.102 Schreiner adds, “I believe this reads more out of the citation than is warranted.”103
Furthermore, despite the vocabulary statistics, the sharp division between 4:21 and 5:1
that this approach assumes is disputable. Some commentators would put the major
division between chapters 5 and 6 instead. This discussion is beyond the scope of this
paper; suffice it to say that this structural argument is not certain. Even if the structure
100
Nygren, Romans, 86. See also A. Feuillet, “La Citation d’Habacuc II.4 et les
Huit Premiers Chapitres de l’Epitre aux Romains,” New Testament Studies, 6 (1959–60):
52–80. The present writer’s limited knowledge of French prohibits extensive interaction
with this work.
101
Smith, “O DE DIKAIOS,” 19.
102
Ibid., 20. In fact, “live by faith” would be a good description of chapters 12–
15. Note the references to faith in the context of Christian living in 12:3, 6; 14:1–2, 22–
23. However, these passages are not referring to eschatological life.
103
Schreiner, Romans, 74.
75
has been correctly understood, this alone does not determine Paul’s intention for the
quotation.
There are several arguments against connecting ejk pivstew" with the substantive
divkaio". If Paul intended this connection, he should have written oJ ejk pivstew" divkaio" or
oJ divkaio" oJ ejk pivstew". For example, Paul wrote hJ de; ejk pivstew" dikaiosuvnh in Romans
10:6, which shows what he could have written if he meant to connect the substantive and
the prepositional phrase in 1:17b.104 Although the second oJ of oJ divkaio" oJ ejk pivstew" is
sometimes omitted in Koine Greek, this would be unusual for Paul. On the other hand,
Paul is quoting.105 He probably used the Septuagint (see above); thus, he omitted the
pronoun mou. If he was willing to omit this pronoun to match his understanding of
Habakkuk, why not make the connection with divkaio" clear?106
More importantly, this view takes the emphasis off “faith,” which the context
shows is central, and puts the emphasis on “live.”107 “Live” is not even in the context, so
surely it is not where the emphasis should be; the emphasis should be on faith.108
Moreover, this view would seem to contrast the “just by faith,” who will live, and the
“just by works,” who will not live. But if anyone could be just by works, he would live
104
Fitzmyer, Romans, 265; R. M. Moody, “The Habakkuk Quotation in Romans
117,” Expository Times 92/7 (April 1981): 205.
105
Cranfield, Romans, 1:102.
106
Smith, “O DE DIKAIOS,” 15.
107
Morris, Romans, 70, n. 177.
108
Smith, “O DE DIKAIOS,” 18.
76
(Rom 10:5).109 One might wonder whether Paul would have said, “The just-by-faith will
live,” since there is no other kind of just person. In fact, Hendriksen asserts, “In Paul’s
epistles there is no parallel to ‘righteous by faith.’ Rom. 5:1 is not really a parallel.”110
Smith claims that such a connection would be a Pauline innovation. There is no evidence
that Habakkuk ever was interpreted this way by others of the time, including 1QpHab, the
Targums, and the Epistle to the Hebrews.111
Combination view
Given all of the foregoing discussion, it is not surprising that some commentators
argue that both views are correct; i.e., that ejk pivstew" should be connected with both
divkaio" and zhvsetai.112 Dunn claims that Jewish exegesis of Paul’s day tried to extend
meaning, not exclude possible meanings. In this case, the fuller meaning would connect
ejk pivstew" with both substantive and verb.113 Dunn asks, “How could Paul have
expected his readers to opt one way or other without clearer guidance?”114 One would
expect that the original context of Habakkuk would be guidance enough. Barrett asserts,
109
Godet, Romans, 1:162.
110
Hendriksen, Romans, 64 n. 31.
111
Smith, “O DE DIKAIOS,” 13–5.
112
Dunn, Romans, 45; Barrett, Romans, 32. Davies comes close to this: “It is
therefore best to understand a primary reference to the righteous who live by faith, with a
secondary reference to the fact that they are also righteous by faith” (Faith and
Obedience in Romans, 41).
113
Dunn, Romans, 45.
114
Ibid., 46.
77
“More probably, however, [Paul] is again emphasizing the principle of ‘faith all the
time’: man (if righteous at all) is righteous by faith; he also lives by faith.”115 Both of
these ideas may be implicit in the context, but it seems unnecessary to believe that Paul
intended two different meanings for one phrase.
Conclusion
Schreiner seems to think this issue is not extremely important, based on the
meaning of the verb. He writes,
Perhaps Paul did not intend to distinguish rigidly between the two options,
although it is more likely that the prepositional phrase modifies the verb. In Paul
zavw is often eschatological (e.g., Rom. 6:10, 11, 13; 8:13; 10:5; Gal. 2.19–20),
and it bears such a meaning here. Those who believe will obtain life
eschatologically. “To be righteous by faith” and “to live by faith” are alternate
ways of communicating the same reality.116
Indeed, there is a close relationship between the two ideas. If one is righteous by faith,
certainly he will continue to live by faith, and he will receive eternal life on the basis of
faith. On the other hand, if one will live by faith, then clearly he must have received his
righteous standing on the basis of faith. Thus, both sides are true and fit the broad
context, but it is still better to understand a connection between ejk pivstew" and zhvsetai.
As Schreiner mentioned, zhvsetai refers to eschatological life. Cranfield believes it
refers to “the life with God, which only is true life, the life which the believer is to begin
to enjoy here and now, but which he will enjoy in its fullness in the eschatological
115
Barrett, Romans, 32. He wishes to maintain the “ambiguity” in the Greek.
116
Schreiner, Romans, 74.
78
future.”117 Dockery claims, “It is primarily eschatological, where its fullness can be
enjoyed, although it can be enjoyed in some sense in the present. . . . For Paul, as for
other Jews, ‘life’ and salvation were practically synonymous.”118 Moody states, “We
must conclude that zēsetai refers to a living relationship with God established by faith,
lived out by faith, and culminating in a full experience of the presence of God.”119
The Purpose of the Quotation
Now that the quotation is understood, Paul’s purpose for quoting from Habakkuk
should be considered. Some might be tempted to see Habakkuk 2:4 as Paul’s main text,
with the following chapters of Romans as a sermon on this text. Dunn objects,
However, in the light of what we know of first-century midrashic technique and
forms, it is difficult to classify Romans as a midrash on Hab 2:4. We are probably
closer to Paul’s intention if we take the whole of vv 16–17 as the text for or
thematic statement of what follows, with the Habakkuk citation giving the first or
primary proof text, as the introductory formula (‘as it is written’) indicates. The
role of the proof text is to provide the initial underpinning and prima facie
justification for the thematic assertion to which it is attached.120
However, there are reasons for seeing this quotation as more than a mere proof text.
Davies sees Paul’s movement to the wrath of God in verse 18 “as the development of a
117
Cranfield, Romans, 1:101.
118
David S. Dockery, “The Use of Hab. 2:4 in Rom. 1:17: Some Hermeneutical
and Theological Considerations,” Wesleyan Theological Journal 22/2 (Fall 1987): 30.
For support Dockery cites Romans 2:7; 4:17; 5:17, 18, 21; 6:4, 10, 11, 13, 22, 23; 7:10;
8:2, 6, 10, 13; 10:5; 12:1.
119
Moody, “Habakkuk Quotation,” 206.
120
Dunn, Romans, 46.
79
theme inherent in the context of Habakkuk’s prophetic word.”121 Habakkuk contrasts the
righteous and the wicked (even in Hab 2:4). The righteous will live, while the wicked
will face judgment. Thus, the Habakkuk quotation in its context would suggest a
discussion of God’s dealings with the unrighteous.
Moody goes even further: “Note that Paul does not just use quotations from the
OT as proof texts. Major themes and subjects from the OT underlie whole sections of
Romans.”122 He elaborates,
It is therefore very revealing that the basic theme of Habakkuk is the problem of
the punishment of Israel by means of the heathen. Is God choosing the lessrighteous in place of the more-righteous? What a very vital question for Paul
whose whole working life was the experience of Gentiles becoming Christians
and the Jews rejecting Jesus! Given that God is in control, here is the problem of
Habakkuk laid alive on his very doorstep. And when we examine Romans we find
that it has in a very important way the same theme as Habakkuk. Ch. 1 presents
the fundamental evil of the Gentiles and chs. 2 and 3 the evil of Israel, and then
from the end of ch. 3 we examine God’s solution to the problem of evil; the
nature of the solution, causing Gentiles, it seems, to be preferred to Jews, leads
naturally into chs. 9–11 which outline God’s temporary rejection of his people
and their ultimate restoration at the end-time.123
Surely Paul had reflected on the meaning of Habakkuk. Would not he have had in mind
the whole message of Habakkuk, rather than a simple proof text?
Habakkuk deals with the problem of evil in that the prophet wonders how a holy
God can use wicked Babylon to punish the less-wicked Israel. Habakkuk wanted to
reconcile God’s revealed character and His pronouncement that He would use the
121
Davies, Faith and Obedience in Romans, 43. Davies also suggests that
Romans 1:18–32 is not a universal condemnation of mankind but a condemnation of the
wicked (ibid., 45). This does not seem to be a necessary inference.
122
Moody, “Habakkuk Quotation,” 207.
123
Ibid., 208.
80
Babylonians. Romans also deals with the problem of evil, but from a different angle. Paul
is not concerned with justifying God; instead, he is concerned with justifying man. The
biblical problem of evil does not deal with the reconciliation of the existence of both God
and evil; the biblical problem of evil involves the reconciliation of the holy God and evil
men. This reconciliation is possible by grace through faith; without faith, man must face
destruction. This is what Romans is all about, and in many ways this was also God’s
answer to Habakkuk. This was not the answer Habakkuk was looking for. Instead of
explaining His actions, God told Habakkuk that he simply needed to remain faithful. In a
sense, God was saying, “Trust me. You do what you need to do, and I’ll do what I need
to do.” There are two ways open to men: one of self-reliance with self-exaltation and one
of steadfast trust in God with God-glorification. As Paul expounded these two ways in
Romans, it is no surprise that his mind turned to Habakkuk.
Conclusion
Paul states the theme of his epistle to the Romans in 1:16–17. This letter is all
about the gospel because the gospel is where one finds the power of God at work. The
gospel message offers salvation to anyone who believes, whether Jew or Gentile. The
message of salvation offered in the gospel is that God will declare a person to be
righteous on the basis of faith, not works. This message was not a Pauline innovation.
According to Paul, Scripture testifies that the one whom God reckons as righteous will
live by faith. Whether this agrees with Habakkuk’s meaning for the same words in the
context of the upcoming Babylonian invasion will be explored after examining Galatians
3:11 in the next chapter.
CHAPTER FOUR
EXEGESIS OF GALATIANS 3:11
The final New Testament quotation of Habakkuk 2:4 to be considered is found in
Galatians 3:11. Verses 10–12 will be particularly important for one’s understanding of
Paul’s use of Habakkuk in Galatians.
Context
Paul’s epistle to the Galatians shares many themes with Romans, so it is not
surprising that a quotation from Habakkuk is found in both books. However, the tone of
Galatians is very different because of the historical situation the letter was intended to
address. Unlike with the church at Rome, Paul had personally preached the gospel to the
Galatians.1 After he had left, false teachers had come to the Galatian churches with “a
different gospel” (Gal 1:6). It is evident that these false teachers demanded that Gentile
Christians observe the Law of Moses, especially circumcision.2 Thus, these false teachers
1
There is much scholarly debate regarding which “Galatians” this epistle was
addressed to. The commentaries cited below provide evidence for and against the “North
Galatian” and “South Galatian” theories. There is also discussion about the date of the
epistle and how it fits with the historical information provided by the book of Acts. These
issues are beyond the boundaries of this thesis. Sufficient context for the proper
interpretation of Galatians 3:11 is provided by the epistle itself.
2
See references to circumcision in 2:3, “the party of the circumcision” in verse
12, living like Jews in verse 14, “the works of the Law” in verse 16 and 3:2, 5, 10,
observing “days and months and seasons and years” in 4:10, being “under law” in verse
21, circumcision in 5:2–3, “justified by law” in verse 4, and circumcision in 6:12–13.
82
have traditionally been called “Judaizers.” They wanted Gentiles to become Jews in order
to be Christians.
Paul called down a curse upon these false teachers (1:8–9) and urged the
Galatians to hold firmly to the gospel as he had preached it to them. One reason that
Paul’s gospel was superior is that it did not come from man but from God, by direct
revelation to Paul (vv. 11–12). Indeed, after Paul’s conversion, he did not consult with
the other apostles for some time (vv. 15–19). When some years later he spent time in
Jerusalem, the apostles approved of his gospel (2:1–10).
In fact, when the apostle Peter came to Antioch, he initially had table fellowship
with Gentiles, until some Jewish Christians came from Jerusalem (vv. 11–12). But Paul,
rather than following Peter’s example, “opposed him to his face” (v. 11). Paul was not
concerned with pleasing men; he was concerned about the truth of the gospel. The gospel
promises justification through faith in Christ, not through observance of the Mosaic Law.
In fact, if one could be justified through the Law, it would have been unnecessary for
Christ to die (v. 21).
Indeed, seeking righteousness through the Law is a foolish enterprise, and Paul
proved this to the Galatians by citing both their own experience (3:1–5) and the testimony
of Scripture (3:6–29). He reminded them that they had received the Holy Spirit by
believing, not by observing the Law (v. 2). He then turned to the ultimate example of a
Jew, the patriarch Abraham (v. 6). Genesis 15:6 testifies that Abraham was justified
because he “believed God.” Scripture also promised (Gen 12:3) that the Gentiles would
be blessed in Abraham, who stands as an example of faith, not works. Paul declared, “It
83
is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham” (Gal 3:7) and, “Those who are of
faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer” (v. 9).
Galatians 3:10
Paul contrasts “those who are of faith [oiJ ejk pivstew"]” (vv. 7, 9) with “as many as
are of the works of the Law [o{soi ejx e[rgwn novmou eijsivn]” (v. 10). While the former are
blessed (eujlogou'ntai, v. 9), the latter are under a curse (uJpo; katavran eijsivn, v. 10). Jan
Lambrecht notes the implicit argument standing between verses 9 and 10: “The people of
the law (oiJ ejk novmou) are not blessed.”3 Why does blessing come by faith and not by the
Law? Paul quotes Deuteronomy 27:26 to show that the Law brings a curse, not blessing.
Unsatisfactory Views
Scholarly debate rages about Paul’s use of this quotation from Deuteronomy. This
verse states that those who fail to keep the Law are cursed, but Paul says that those who
“are of the works of the Law,” presumably people who try to keep the Law, are cursed.
At first glance, Paul’s assertion in Galatians 3:10a seems to be the opposite of the Old
Testament Scripture cited in 10b as support for that assertion. A few unsatisfactory ways
of dealing with this apparent problem have been suggested.
The curse is upon Israel
James Scott notes that Paul’s phrase “written in the book of the Law” (Gal 3:10)
is not actually found in Deuteronomy 27:26, but it “runs through Deuteronomy 27–32
3
Jan Lambrecht, “Curse and Blessing: A Study of Galatians 3,10–14,” in Pauline
Studies: Collected Essays, 271–98, Bibliotheca Ephemeridum Theologicarum Lov
Aniensium 115 (Leuven, Belg.: Leuven University Press, 1994), 279.
84
like a leitmotif (cf. Deut. 28.58, 61; 29.19, 20, 26; 30.10).”4 Deuteronomy 27–32 is the
section on blessings and curses, and the contrast between these two is central in Paul’s
argument in Galatians 3:10–14. Paul says that “as many as are of works of the Law are
under a curse,” which Deuteronomy 27:26 does not explicitly say. Scott claims Paul was
making an assumption that was fairly common in Jewish tradition at the time: “The
curses of Deuteronomy 27–32 had indeed fallen upon Israel in (722 and) 587 BCE, and
would remain upon the nation until the time of the messianic redemption and the
restoration. From Paul’s perspective, however, h\lqen to; plhvrwma tou; crovnou. The time
of the Restoration has come.”5
However, what impact would this traditional Jewish understanding (if Scott is
correct about that) have had on the Gentiles to whom Paul was writing? Would they have
even understood Paul’s veiled references to Jewish tradition? Furthermore, it is not clear
to what degree the exile influenced Paul’s thinking. Moisés Silva notes, “When drawing
exegetical conclusions one should hesitate to lean heavily on a concept that the apostle
never mentions explicitly and to which he does not even clearly allude.” Even if Paul
shared this view of the exile, one cannot be sure that he was referring to this in Galatians
3. Silva adds, “The apostle frequently uses scriptural texts in ways that differ from, or
4
James M. Scott, “‘For As Many As Are of Works of the Law Are under a Curse’
(Galatians 3.10),” in Paul and the Scriptures of Israel, ed. Craig A. Evans and James A.
Sanders, 187–221, Journal for the Study of the New Testament Supplement Series 83
(Sheffield, Eng.: JSOT Press, 1993), 195.
5
Ibid., 221.
85
even contradict, those of his contemporaries, so we can hardly assume that his use of
Deut 27:26 here conforms to theirs.”6
Jewish distinctives excluding Gentiles
James Dunn thinks those who are “of the works of the Law” were specifically
those who put too much emphasis on that which distinguished Jews from Gentiles, “those
who rested their confidence in Israel’s ‘favoured nation’ status.”7 According to Dunn,
focusing on the Law to the exclusion of the Gentiles was itself a violation of the Law and
thus brought a curse.8 However, the citation from Deuteronomy implies that “the works
of the Law” include more than the “ethnic aspects of the Law.” Indeed, “Deuteronomy
27–30 is full of curses against all sorts of legal violations. . . . The language is
comprehensive; the law is an organic whole, and all of it must be obeyed.”9 Scott also
notes that “the works of the Law” are related to “all” the commandments in Deuteronomy
27:26; “furthermore, in picking up the idea of a curse from v. 10, Gal. 3.13 cannot mean
to say that Christ delivers Jews from a mistaken view of the law!”10
6
Moisés Silva, “Abraham, Faith, and Works: Paul’s Use of Scripture in Galatians
3:6–14,” Westminster Theological Journal 63/2 (Fall 2001): 257; see also ibid., 260, n.
25.
7
James D. G. Dunn, The Epistle to the Galatians, Black’s New Testament
Commentary (Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 1993), 172.
8
Ibid., 172–72.
9
Andrew A. Das, Paul, the Law, and the Covenant (Peabody, Mass.:
Hendrickson, 2001), 157.
10
Scott, “Galatians 3.10,” 192.
86
Potential curse
Some scholars understand verse 10 as giving only the potentiality of a curse:
Christopher Stanley writes, “Anyone who chooses to abide by the Jewish Torah in order
to secure participation in Abraham’s ‘blessing’ is placed in a situation where he or she is
threatened instead with a ‘curse,’ since the law itself pronounces a curse on anyone who
fails to live up to every single one of its requirements.”11 Joseph Braswell claims that
“under a curse” in verse 10 is parallel to the phrases “under law” (3:23; 4:4) and “under
tutors and governors” (4:2), and these are related to “under sin” (3:22) and “under the
elements” (4:3, 8). He asserts, “All of these expressions describe spheres of power and
dominion to which the people therein enclosed are made subject and under whose sway,
reign, and jurisdiction they live. The ejx e[rgwn novmou are not said to be accursed; they are
merely under a curse(-threat) as those living within the sphere in which the curse
principle is operative.”12 Braswell’s observation of the use of uJpov in Galatians is
interesting; however, the phrase “under law” does not mean “potentially under law,” and
“under tutors” does not mean “potentially under tutors.” Those within the sphere of a
curse are accursed.
11
Christopher D. Stanley, “‘Under a Curse’: A Fresh Reading of Galatians 3. 10–
14,” New Testament Studies 36/4 (October 1990): 500.
12
Joseph P. Braswell, “‘The Blessing of Abraham’ Versus ‘The Curse of the
Law’: Another Look at Gal 3:10–13,” Westminster Theological Journal 53/1 (Spring
1991): 76 (emphasis original).
87
Moreover, this potential-curse view is unlikely, since verse 10 says they “are
under a curse” (note the present tense).13 Norman Young tries to get around this present
tense by assuming an implied condition: “if they do not keep all the laws.”14 According to
Young, Paul is saying that if one puts himself under the Law, then he must obey all of it;
otherwise, he comes under the curse. However, Paul’s opponents did not accept all of the
Law (e.g., they probably no longer had sacrifices or priests).15 However, Young does not
adequately account for verse 13, which implies that the curse was realized. “Christ
redeemed ‘us’ from the curse of the law, not from a ‘negative potentiality.’”16 Moreover,
being “under a curse” is contrasted with the blessing of believers (v. 9). The blessing is
not potential, so the curse is not either.
A curse on Christians who submit to the Law
According to Timothy Gombis, verse 10 pronounces “a curse on New Covenant
believers who submit to the authority of the Old Covenant.”17 A believer in Jesus
13
Das, Paul, 148.
14
Norman H. Young, “Who’s Cursed—And Why? (Galatians 3:10–14),” Journal
of Biblical Literature 117/1 (Spring 1998): 86–87.
15
Ibid., 87–88. Note the comment of F. F. Bruce: “Why does Paul make no
reference to the sin-offering, or to the day of atonement? One reason may be that the
sacrificial ritual had not been mentioned by the agitators. Even they knew that this part of
the law at least had been rendered obsolete by the death of Christ” (The Epistle to the
Galatians: A Commentary on the Greek Text, New International Greek Testament
Commentary [Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1983], 160–61).
16
17
Scott, “Galatians 3.10,” 193; cf. Das, Paul, 148.
Timothy G. Gombis, “The Curse of the Law in Galatians 3:10–14” (Th.M.
thesis, The Master’s Seminary, 2000), 83. See also idem, “The ‘Transgressor’ and the
88
recognizes that God does not justify on the basis of one’s obedience to the Mosaic Law;
thus, this believer acknowledges that the Law does not have binding authority over him.
On the other hand, if a believer follows the Judaizers, then he must admit that the Law is
required for justification and thus has binding authority. This contradiction results in the
believer coming under the curse of Deuteronomy 27:26. Gombis believes this
interpretation provides the best fit for (1) “the nature of the error in Galatia,” (2) “the
logic of Paul’s argument,” and (3) “the context of Paul’s argument.”18
His first point is valid, for the Judaizers did claim that both faith in Christ and
submission to the Law were required. His second point is weak. Paul states that those
who do not “remain within” the things written in the Law are cursed, and he defines
“remain within” by the statement “to do them.” Thus, Gombis states the logic of the
argument as follows: “Those who are ‘of the works of the law’ are somehow not doing
them and so are accursed.”19 However, Gombis goes on to suggest that denying the
authority of the Mosaic Law is a failure to “remain within” the Law. Gombis has just said
that failure to “remain within” means a failure to do what is in the Law; how is a denial
of the Law’s authority a failure to do anything? Certainly denying the Law’s authority
would naturally lead to violations of the Law, but these are still two different concepts.
Gombis’s third point refers to Paul’s argument in Galatians 2:15–21 that
Christians are no longer under the authority of the Law. According to Gombis, Paul states
‘Curse of the Law’: The Logic of Paul’s Argument in Galatians 2–3,” New Testament
Studies 53/1 (January 2007): 81–93.
18
Gombis, “Curse of the Law in Galatians,” 83–85.
19
Ibid., 84 (emphasis original).
89
that a Christian returning to the Law proves himself to be a transgressor of the Law, since
he already had ceased his submission to the Law (Gal 2:18). What Gombis assumes is
that such a person does indeed fail to keep the whole Law. This thesis will support the
view that there is an implied premise in Galatians 3:10 that no one obeys the Law
perfectly. Gombis assumes something very much like this premise, but he denies the need
for an implied premise.20 Therefore, Gombis’s view should also be rejected.
The Legalist Interpretation
To understand the connection between Paul’s assertion in verse 10a and his
citation of Deuteronomy in 10b, one must understand what he means by o{soi ejx e[rgwn
novmou eijsivn. It was noted above that this phrase stands in contrast with oiJ ejk pivstew" in
verse 9. This phrase means more than simply “believers.” When one reads 2:15–21, it
becomes clear that Paul is talking about how one is justified. Some seek justification “by
the works of the Law” (repeated three times in v. 16), while others seek justification “by
faith in Christ.” These verses in chapter 2 make it clear that law and faith are two
incompatible ways for one to seek justification. Thus “those who are of faith” are those
who rely on faith for their justification, and “as many as are of the works of the Law” are
those who rely on the Law for their justification. As F. F. Bruce notes, “The threefold
20
Gombis argues against the implied premise in his discussion of verse 10 (ibid.,
72–75); however, in his discussion of verse 12 he states, “Paul is assuming here the
fundamental problem of humanity, that they will inevitably fail to do all the
commandments of God’s Law. This is his main point in Romans 7 and this
understanding lies behind his argument throughout Galatians 3” (ibid., 120; emphasis
added). Gombis cites other scholars for this latter point, so perhaps he does not intend it
to express his own view. However, he cites this as an argument for the position he holds,
which would seem to imply that he thinks this argument valid.
90
occurrence of ejx e[rgwn novmou in 2:16 implies that the reference here is to those who rely
on the Law, or on their performance of the Law, for their acceptance with God.”21 Bruce
also observes, “Paul had no ready word or phrase in Greek to express what we mean by
‘legalism,’ and therefore had to use ‘law’ or a phrase containing ‘law’ to express it.”22
Silva notes that one’s understanding of oiJ ejk pivstew" should also be determined
by Paul’s use of Habakkuk 2:4 in Galatians 3:11. Silva writes, “In other words, oiJ ejk
pivstew" are those who, like Abraham, live by faith and are blessed; while o{soi ejx e[rgwn
novmou are those who live by the things commanded in the law and are cursed.”23 Silva
also notes a close connection between life and justification. Not only is dikaiou'tai
associated with zhvsetai in Galatians 3:11, but the parallelism between 2:21 (eij ga;r dia;
novmou dikaiosuvnh) and 3:21 (eij ga;r ejdovqh novmo" oJ dunavmeno" zw/opoih'sai) makes this
same connection.24 This implies a connection between those “of the Law” and those who
seek to be justified by the Law in 5:4 (oi{tine" ejn novmw/ dikaiou'sqe). Silva concludes, “It
turns out, then, that a rendering such as ‘those who rely on works of the law,’ although
much maligned by some recent scholars, is hardly inimical to the context.”25
21
Bruce, Galatians, 157.
22
Ibid., 137. This point is also made by C. E. B. Cranfield, A Critical and
Exegetical Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans, 2 vols., International Critical
Commentary (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1975–79), 2:853. Cranfield notes that context
must decide whether Paul meant the Law or the misuse of the Law that today is called
“legalism.”
23
Silva, “Abraham, Faith, and Works,” 260–61 (emphasis original).
24
Ibid., 261 n. 28
25
Ibid., 261.
91
As Silva notes, some scholars reject this “legalist” interpretation. Scott writes,
“Paul speaks in Gal. 3.10 of a curse upon those who fail to do the law, not particularly
upon those who (misguidedly) try to do it!”26 It is true that 3:10b speaks of a curse for
law-breakers, but verse 10a does not specifically mention law-breakers (nor law-keepers
for that matter). Verse 10a does refer to those who are “of the works of the Law,”
particularly as opposed to those who are “of faith.” The addition of the preposition ejk,
especially in the context of 2:15–21, makes all the difference.
Das claims, “Verse 12 states rather bluntly that it is the law, not a
misunderstanding of it or a wrong attitude, that is opposed to faith.”27 However, Paul’s
purpose is not to contrast faith and Law in this passage. Instead, “the contrast is rather
between those who live by each.”28 Paul only argues against “works of the Law” in the
context of justification. Indeed, Paul allowed Jewish Christians to observe the Law, and
he obeyed the Law himself when appropriate.29 There is nothing wrong with “works of
the Law,” but Paul rejects the idea that one can be justified by them.
Why Legalists Are Cursed
In verse 10a Paul announces that those who seek to be justified by obeying the
Law (such persons would be called “legalists” today) are actually under a curse. Paul
26
Scott, “Galatians 3.10,” 190.
27
Das, Paul, 162.
28
Stanley, “Under a Curse,” 484.
29
Douglas J. Moo, “‘Law,’ ‘Works of the Law,’ and Legalism in Paul,”
Westminster Theological Journal 45/1 (Spring 1983): 97 n. 77.
92
does not state explicitly why legalists are under the curse pronounced against lawbreakers.
The judgment of the Law differs from the judgment of God
Ernest Burton believes in a distinction between the curse of the Law and the
judgment of God in Galatians 3: “The verdicts of law . . . are, for Paul, not judgments
which reflect God’s attitude now or at any time or under any circumstances, but those
which the legalist must, to his own undoing, recognise as those of the law interpreted as
he interprets it, and which on the basis of his legalism he must impute to God.”30
However, Burton’s view “fails to take account of the seriousness of the ‘curse’
envisioned by Paul in the present passage—so serious in fact that it required the
crucifixion of Jesus Christ to annul it (v. 13) before God’s ‘blessing’ could come upon
the Gentiles (v. 14).”31 Moreover, in verse 13 “the curse is the curse of the Law, since the
Law expresses it (Dt. 27:26; 21:23). Yet it is also the curse of God, for the Law is the
revelation of God.”32 Thus, Burton’s distinction should be rejected.
30
Ernest De Witt Burton, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on St. Paul’s
Epistle to the Galatians, International Critical Commentary (London: T. & T. Clark,
1921), 165.
31
32
Stanley, “Under a Curse,” 485.
Friedrich Büchsel, “ajrav ktl.,” in Theological Dictionary of the New
Testament, 10 vols., ed. Gerhard Kittel and Gerhard Friedrich, trans. and ed. Geoffrey
William Bromiley, 1:448–51 (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1964–76), 1:450.
93
Legalism equals bribery
Daniel Fuller asserts that legalism itself is a heinous crime, like those listed in the
curses of Deuteronomy 27:15–25. By trying to earn God’s favor by doing works, the
legalist attempts to bribe God. Fuller writes, “It should be pointed out that the law flatly
states that the Lord ‘takes no bribe’ (Deut 10:17). . . . So by regarding ‘the works of the
law’ in Gal 3:10 as the sin of bribing God, coherency is attained in the argument of Gal
3:10, without resorting to the highly arbitrary procedure of adding a whole proposition to
this verse.”33 Fuller’s reference to “adding a whole proposition” refers to the “implied
premise” view to be discussed next. However, Fuller is not correct when he asserts that
adding a premise is arbitrary. Silva notes, “Every single citation in vv. 6–14 is
characterized by some kind of logical gap. . . . One of the most significant gaps is the lack
of an explicit connection between the giving of the Spirit and Abraham’s faith, yet,
strangely, commentators and scholars seldom even mention the problem.”34 Silva also
notes that there is ample evidence in rabbinical writings for this type of omission of
assumed and agreed-upon premises.35 Moreover, bribery is not mentioned in the context
of Galatians, so Fuller’s view is at least as “arbitrary” as the implied premise view.
33
Daniel P. Fuller, “Paul and ‘The Works of the Law,’” Westminster Theological
Journal 38/1 (Fall 1975): 33.
34
Silva, “Abraham, Faith, and Works,” 262.
35
Ibid.
94
An implied premise
The statement from Deuteronomy 27:26 that law-breakers are cursed supports
Paul’s assertion that legalists are cursed because there is an implicit assumption being
made: no one obeys the Law completely. Those who wish to be justified by the Law fail
because they do not obey it perfectly.
Supporting Arguments
There is some emphasis on “all things” in the quotation “Cursed is everyone who
does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them.”36 In fact, the
Masoretic Text does not include the Hebrew equivalent of “all” (although it is implicit in
the context). The word pa'sin (“all”), which Paul includes, is found in the Septuagint, and
yet Paul does not follow the Septuagint exactly. Paul has “everything that is written in the
book of the Law,” while the Septuagint has “all the words of this law.” Deuteronomy
27:26 refers to the 12 curses pronounced from Mount Ebal, while Paul generalizes the
statement to include the entire Law.37
This understanding of an implied premise makes sense in this context. Thomas
Schreiner notes, “Paul’s claim that the OT itself curses those who do not abide by the law
36
Compare Galatians 5:3: “I testify again to every man who receives
circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law.” Thus, complete
obedience was on Paul’s mind. Cf. James 2:10: “For whoever keeps the whole law and
yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.”
37
Ronald Y. K. Fung, The Epistle to the Galatians, New International
Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1988), 141.
95
in its entirety is an effective statement only if one cannot obey it perfectly.”38 If the Law
could be obeyed, then why did Christ have to die (cf. 2:21)? Moreover, this view agrees
with Paul’s theology expressed in Romans 1–3, especially 3:9–20, that sin is universal.39
The fact that man’s inability to obey the Law perfectly is implied in Galatians 3 is
confirmed by verse 13, “where it is said that Christ redeemed those who were under the
curse by himself becoming a curse. Only if the curse of v 10 is pronounced on failure to
keep the law does the substitutionary redemption language of this verse make sense.”40
Silva has a different view of the implied premise. He believes the missing
assumption is that Paul’s “‘faith-less’ opponents in particular were the ones who failed to
fulfill the requirement of Deut 27:26. We could even say that the premise is built into the
way Paul introduces the citation, namely, by describing the false teachers as being
characterized by works (and therefore as not being children of faithful/believing
Abraham).”41 Silva seems to be saying that being “of the Law” is itself a violation of the
Law, since the Law requires one to be “of faith”; hence, anyone “of the Law” is
automatically cursed. While this may be true, the context of Galatians 3 discusses the
38
Thomas R. Schreiner, “Is Perfect Obedience to the Law Possible? A ReExamination of Galatians 3:10,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 27/2
(June 1984): 159.
39
Ibid., 159–60. Compare also Galatians 6:3, “For those who are circumcised do
not even keep the Law themselves.”
40
41
Moo, “Legalism in Paul,” 98.
Silva, “Abraham, Faith, and Works,” 263–64. The argument is repeated in
Moisés Silva, “Galatians,” in Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old
Testament, ed. G. K. Beale and D. A. Carson, 785–812 (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker
Academic, 2007), 799.
96
“works of the Law,” so when one reads of “all things written in the book of the Law” it is
natural to understand this as referring to the same thing as “works of the Law.” This
phrase would more readily suggest obedience to specific commands of the Law, rather
than a failure to adopt the principle of faith as opposed to works. Therefore, what Paul
assumed is that no one obeys the Law completely.
Opposing Arguments
This understanding of an implied premise is not without critics. Louis Martyn
claims that Paul nowhere refers to the required assumption that complete obedience is
impossible; in fact, Martyn cites Philippians 3:4–6, where Paul claims to have been
blameless himself.42 However, this indicates a misunderstanding of Philippians 3:6.
Schreiner writes, “The context indicates that this is Paul’s pre-Christian evaluation of
himself. As a Pharisee Paul thought that he kept the Law perfectly, but Phil 3:3–4 makes
it clear that this was Paul’s fleshly view of himself.”43 Schreiner also observes that Paul’s
notion of blamelessness likely included offering sacrifices for sin in the temple. “The
point that Paul is making in Phil 3:6 is simply that his obedience to the law was superior
to the obedience attained by his opponents.”44
Richard Hays says, “Whether it is possible to keep all the commandments of the
Law is beside the point, because in any case keeping the commandments cannot produce
justification and life. How does Paul know this? It is clear (dh'lon), he asserts, because oJ
42
J. Louis Martyn, Galatians, Anchor Bible (New York: Doubleday, 1997), 310.
43
Schreiner, “Is Perfect Obedience to the Law Possible?” 158.
44
Ibid.
97
divkaio" ejk pivstew" zhvsetai.”45 However, this passage does not say that “keeping the
commandments cannot produce justification.” What verse 11 does say is that “no one is
justified by the Law.” True, the support Paul offers for the claim that no one is justified
by the Law is the quotation from Habakkuk. But neither Paul nor Habakkuk explains why
justification is by faith and not by the Law. Man’s inability to obey the Law is what
makes faith necessary. Hays continues, “Paul rejects the Law not because of an empirical
observation that no one can do what it requires but because its claim to give life,
explicitly articulated in Lev 18:5, is incompatible with the gospel story, which says that
Christ had to die in order to give life to us (3:13–14; cf. 2:21).”46 Hays creates a false
dichotomy here. Man’s inability to keep the Law (or any law, for that matter) makes the
gospel necessary. Paul did not need “an empirical observation” of man’s inability; this
truth is implicit in the gospel.
Stanley claims that an argument regarding man’s inability to fulfill the Law
completely would be useless. “Paul’s Judaizing opponents would presumably have
agreed with any assertion that the law could not be fulfilled apart from divine assistance,
but would have countered that such help had now come (for Christians) in the appearance
of the Holy Spirit.”47 However, Paul does not argue man’s inability. Perhaps his
45
Richard B. Hays, The Faith of Jesus Christ: The Narrative Substructure of
Galatians 3:1–4:11, 2d ed., Biblical Resource Series (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans;
Dearborn, Mich.: Dove Booksellers, 2002), 178.
46
Ibid., 179.
47
Stanley, “Under a Curse,” 483 (emphasis original).
98
opponents, and certainly the Gentile Galatian Christians, would have agreed with him.
That is precisely why he does not need to state this premise explicitly.
E. P. Sanders offers three arguments against an implied premise of man’s inability
to keep the Law completely. First, he claims the emphasis is not on “all.” He asserts that
Paul chose which verse to quote in Galatians 3:10 because he wanted to link “law” and
“curse.” Deuteronomy 27:26 is the only passage in which “law” is connected with
“curse” in the Septuagint, and so Sanders believes that Paul emphasized “law” and
“curse,” not “all.”48 However, this does not prove that Paul intended no emphasis on
“all.” Even if this word were not involved in his choice of text, that would not imply that
“all” is not exegetically significant; to say that it does is merely to presuppose what one is
trying to show.49
In fact, there are at least four reasons to believe that Paul quotes Deuteronomy
27:26 because the Judaizers had done so: (1) Paul does not cite this verse anywhere else;
(2) Paul does not use the terms katavra and ejpikatavrato" except in Galatians 3:10, 13;
(3) when Paul talks about Abraham in Romans 4, he does not discuss blessing and curse,
since he did not face the Judaizers; and (4) this curse fits the Judaizers’ theology well.50 If
this is the case, then Paul might have wanted to turn the tables on them by emphasizing
“all.” Richard Longenecker observes, “The Judaizers had evidently focused on the words
48
E. P. Sanders, Paul, the Law, and the Jewish People (Philadelphia: Fortress
Press, 1983), 21.
49
Thomas R. Schreiner, “Paul and Perfect Obedience to the Law: An Evaluation
of the View of E. P. Sanders,” Westminster Theological Journal 47/2 (Fall 1985): 256.
50
Martyn, Galatians, 309.
99
poih'sai aujtav (‘to do them’). Paul, however, seems to be more concerned to stress pa'sin
(‘all’), which is his emphasis again in 5:3 (cf. also 6:13).”51
Second, Sanders claims that one should not exegete the “proof-text” to determine
Paul’s meaning; instead, one should see what Paul says. Sanders asserts, “In 3:10 Paul
means that those who accept the law are cursed. This consideration also points to the
conclusion that the emphasis is not on the word ‘all.’”52 However, Sanders principle is
assumed, not defended. The New Testament use of the Old Testament is too complex to
support such a universal principle.53 Moreover, in this context Paul cites the Old
Testament to explain his assertions. In verse 11, Habakkuk 2:4 explains why “no one is
justified by the law”; in verse 12, Leviticus 18:5 supports “the law is not of faith”; and in
verse 13, Deuteronomy 21:23 explains how Christ has become a curse. Similarly,
Deuteronomy 27:26 explains why those “of the Law” are cursed.54 Michael Cranford
notes, “What Sanders overlooks is that any mishandling of the text on Paul’s part would
provide his opponents the opportunity to discount his use of the text and therefore the
argument on which it rests.”55
51
Richard N. Longenecker, Galatians, Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas:
Word, 1990), 117.
52
E. Sanders, Paul, 22.
53
Schreiner, “Paul and Perfect Obedience,” 256–57.
54
Ibid., 257–58.
55
Michael Cranford, “The Possibility of Perfect Obedience: Paul and an Implied
Premise in Galatians 3:10 and 5:3,” Novum Testamentum 36/3 (July 1994): 246.
100
Third, Sanders claims that Galatians 3:10–13 is subsidiary to verse 8 (he
translates, “God righteouses the Gentiles by faith”), so the point is not the unfulfillability
of the Law.56 However, Schreiner observes that this subordination does not prove the
claim Sanders makes.57 Thus, Sanders’ three arguments do not withstand careful scrutiny.
Louis Martyn prefers the view that “for Paul the curse of the Law falls on both
observer and nonobserver.”58 However, Paul’s citation of Deuteronomy would not
support this argument, since Deuteronomy 27:26 does not make this claim. Moreover, the
“law-observer” is not in this context. Paul is talking about those who are “of the Law,”
not those who obey the Law. In this passage Paul does not say whether those who are “of
the Law” actually obey it. It is safe to say that Paul believed (and assumed his readers
would agree) that they did not (cf. Gal 6:13). Silva states, “The fact is that the apostle
nowhere (in Galatians or in his other letters) characterizes his opponents as people who
are obedient to the law. He will admit to no such thing.”59
Conclusion
After considering all the views and all the arguments, no reason has been found to
reject the legalist interpretation or the understanding of an implied premise. Ronald Fung
concludes correctly, “Paul’s meaning in [Gal 3:10] is, therefore, that all who hold to legal
works are under the curse pronounced by the law itself upon all who do not observe the
56
E. Sanders, Paul, 22.
57
Schreiner, “Paul and Perfect Obedience,” 259.
58
Martyn, Galatians, 311.
59
Silva, “Abraham, Faith, and Works,” 263; idem, “Galatians,” 799.
101
law completely. The words presuppose that no one does observe the law completely.”60
In contrast with verse 9, verse 10 could be summarized: “All who rely on legal efforts . . .
that is, all whose identity and direction are formed by meeting the requirements of a
system or a rule, are under a curse: they are excluded (or exclude themselves) from the
divine blessing by reason of the fact that they are not men of faith.”61
Galatians 3:11–12
Paul has argued that men of faith are blessed along with Abraham, while men of
Law are cursed. However, for his argument to work, Paul must show that men of Law are
not of faith. Thus verse 11 “introduces an additional piece of information by revealing
the principle that allows Paul to characterize his opponents as ‘faith-less.’ Thus it would
be possible to view v. 11 not as a distinct thesis but as a corollary of the thesis in v. 10.”62
The Law Does Not Justify
The thesis of verse 11 is that “no one is justified by the Law before God.”
Longenecker notes, “The passive construction of dikaiou'tai (‘is justified’) emphasizes
60
Fung, Galatians, 142.
61
David Hill, “Salvation Proclaimed: IV. Galatians 310–14: Freedom and
Acceptance,” Expository Times 93/7 (April 1982): 197.
62
Silva, “Abraham, Faith, and Works,” 264 (emphasis original); similarly, idem,
“Galatians,” 801. Note also, “The dev introduces a matter in addition to a previous one
(‘furthermore’), so that v 11 is more than simply a ‘parallel’ to v 10” (Hans Dieter Betz,
Galatians: A Commentary on Paul’s Letter to the Churches of Galatia, Hermeneia
[Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1979], 146).
102
righteousness as bestowed by another rather than as achieved by one’s own effort.”63 Paul
had made this claim in 2:16, but here he says that this assertion is “evident” (dh'lon)
because of the testimony of Scripture found in Habakkuk 2:4: oJ divkaio" ejk pivstew"
zhvsetai. Once again the syntactical relationship between these words must be explored.
As was the case for Romans 1:17, so also for Galatians 3:11 some scholars connect ejk
pivstew" with the verb while others connect it with the substantive.
Live by faith
As was mentioned in the discussion of Romans, the Masoretic Text and the
Septuagint favor the connection “live by faith,” as does Paul’s word order. In the context
of Galatians 3, “live by faith” provides a better contrast with “live by them” (zhvsetai ejn
aujtoi'") in verse 12 (quoted from Lev 18:5).64 On the other hand, Fung claims, “It may
equally be argued that the very parallelism of the words oJ divkaio" ejk pivstew" zhvsetai
and oJ poihvsa" aujta; zhvsetai favors ‘he who is righteous by faith,’ corresponding to ‘he
who practices them,’ the two scriptures furnishing opposing answers to the question—not
‘How will one live?’ but ‘Who shall live?’”65 However, Fung has ignored the “in them” at
the end of the Leviticus quotation. Stanley claims that the parallelism logically implies
the addition of ejn aujtw/' at the end of the Habakkuk quote,66 but that merely assumes the
63
Longenecker, Galatians, 118.
64
Fung, Galatians, 144.
65
Ibid., 145; similarly, Stanley, “Under a Curse,” 504 n. 60.
66
Ibid.
103
parallel he is trying to assert and makes the addition to support it. Since there is no “in it”
at the end of the Habakkuk quote, Stanley’s understanding probably is flawed.
Hays believes that the connection “live by faith” fits better with the first part of
Galatians 3:11 as well. He claims, “The word zhvsetai carried for Paul eschatological
connotations and . . . is used in 3:11b as a virtual synonym of dikaiou'tai in 3:11a. Thus,
ejk pivstew" should be taken as an adverbial modifier of zhvsetai, functionally parallel (and
materially antithetical) to ejn novmw/ in 3:11a, which is clearly a modifier of dikaiou'tai, not
of oujdeiv".”67 Lambrecht asserts,
In Paul’s thought the whole expression “the righteous will live through faith” of
verse 11b corresponds to “is justified” of verse 11a. Notwithstanding its future
tense, the verb “will live” does not primarily indicate here the full Christian life
after justification nor life after death; it points, we think, to the justification itself
which occurs through faith, not through the law.68
Similarly, Bruce claims: “Righteousness by faith is for Paul so closely bound up with true
life that the two terms—‘righteousness’ and ‘life’—can in practice be used
interchangeably (cf. v 21b).”69 Burton states, “Zhvsetai, ‘shall live,’ refers either to the
obtaining of eternal life as the highest good and goal to which justification looks, or, by
metonymy, to justification itself. It is justification, in any case, that is chiefly in mind.”70
Thus, there are good reasons for understanding Paul’s meaning to be “the righteous will
live by faith.”
67
Hays, Faith of Jesus Christ, 133.
68
Lambrecht, “Curse and Blessing,” 283.
69
Bruce, Galatians, 162.
70
Burton, Galatians, 166.
104
Righteous by faith
Nevertheless, some scholars argue for the understanding “the righteous-by-faith
will live.” Fung notes that verse 11 speaks of “justified . . . by the law,” and indeed how
one is justified, not how the righteous shall live, is in context of Galatians from 2:15 on.71
However, one should note Galatians 2:20, where Paul says, “I live by faith [ejn pivstei zw']
in the Son of God.” Thus, in the context of justification (Gal 2:15–21), Paul does mention
how the righteous live. Fung also notes that if the righteous man lives by faith, then
certainly he became righteous by faith. Thus, Paul could use the Habakkuk quote in the
sense of “righteous by faith” without violating the prophet’s intention.72 On the other
hand, Paul could use the quotation in the sense of “live by faith” with the implication that
one becomes “righteous by faith” as well.
Combination view
Some scholars argue that Paul meant both “righteous by faith” and “live by faith.”
Dunn claims, “Paul’s point is precisely that the identity of ‘the righteous person’ per se
derives from and is determined by faith. And that includes his ‘living’ as ‘one who is
righteous’; ‘from faith’ characterizes and constitutes his relationship with God from
beginning to end.”73 Martyn claims, “Gal 3:21 suggests that the two readings would mean
the same thing to Paul, for in that verse he equates rectification with making alive. . . .
71
Fung, Galatians, 144.
72
Ibid., 144–45. Of course, if Habakkuk is referring to faithfulness and not faith,
then violating the prophet’s intention might not be a good standard on which to base
one’s decision.
73
Dunn, Galatians, 174.
105
Being made alive by God and being rectified by God are the same event.”74 Even Hays
remarks, “It is difficult to see what is really at stake in this question, for no one seriously
supposes that Paul reckons with the possibility of some hypothetical person who is
divkaio" apart from faith.”75 Hays claims that the meaning suggested by the two views is
“substantially identical”: “In either case, the phrase ejk pivstew" specifies the manner in
which oJ divkaio" shall find life (= be justified).”76 Perhaps “righteous by faith” and “live
by faith” are closely related; indeed, each one implies the other. However, there is no
reason to assume that Paul meant to communicate two different meanings (as related as
they are) with one phrase.
Conclusion
Paul uses the Habakkuk quotation in the sense “the righteous will live by faith,”
with the implication (especially in this context) that one’s righteous status was based on
faith to begin with. Longenecker notes, “The point he is making here is that righteousness
in this pivotal text is associated with faith alone—not with the law! . . . In v 11 Paul sets
74
Martyn, Galatians, 314.
75
Hays, Faith of Jesus Christ, 133 (emphasis original).
76
Ibid., 134. Hays thinks there are three possible interpretations of Gal 3:11b: “(a)
The Messiah will live by (his own) faith(fulness). (b) The righteous person will live as a
result of the Messiah’s faith(fulness). (c) The righteous person will live by (his own) faith
(in the Messiah).” He concludes, “Paul’s thought is rendered wholly intelligible only if
all three of these interpretations are held together and affirmed as correct” (ibid., 140).
Hays also claims that Paul had a messianic interpretation of Habakkuk 2:4, so that “the
righteous” refers to Christ. Dunn rightly objects, since “the righteous” of verse 11b
“answers to the ‘no one’ of verse 11a; Hab. ii.4 only demonstrates the claim of iii.11a if it
refers to everyone who considers himself ‘righteous’” (Dunn, Galatians, 174–75).
106
up a sharp antithesis to v 10: righteousness is to be associated with faith alone; curse is
the result of trying to observe the law in order to gain righteousness.”77
The Law Is Not of Faith
Paul’s claim in verse 11, that no one is justified by the Law, is supported by an
Old Testament text that says nothing about the Law. Therefore, verse 11 is not a
complete argument without verse 12. So the quotation of Leviticus 18:5 in Galatians 3:12
is not the support of another thesis; instead, it is the grounds “for a premise that Paul now
realizes he needs to spell out, namely, that the law cannot be viewed as belonging to the
category ‘of faith.’”78 Hence, verse 12 must also be considered.
Paul states that the Law is not “of faith” (ejk pivstew"). Instead, Leviticus 18:5
sums up the principle of the Law: oJ poihvsa" aujta; zhvsetai ejn aujtoi'". “The law has to do
with ‘doing’ and ‘living by its prescriptions’ and not with faith.”79 The Judaizers may
have quoted this same verse to encourage the Gentiles to obey the Law. However, this
was inappropriate, because “‘by faith’ excludes the Torah.”80 Indeed, “faith and law
appear as two diametrically opposed and mutually exclusive principles.”81 Bruce
77
Longenecker, Galatians, 119.
78
Silva, “Abraham, Faith, and Works,” 254.
79
Longenecker, Galatians, 120.
80
Betz, Galatians, 147.
81
Fung, Galatians, 146.
107
concludes, “Since the law is not ejk pivstew", whereas justification is only ejk pivstew" (v
11), therefore justification cannot come by the law.”82
One should not go so far as to say that the Mosaic Law itself excludes faith. The
Law must be understood in the context of the whole Pentateuch, including Genesis 15:6,
which Paul already used to show that justification is by faith. One must not forget that in
the context of Galatians 3 Paul is discussing the Law as a means of justification. Faith
can obey the Law, but not in order to be justified. Fuller writes, “Since verse 11 contrasts
faith, the proper attitude toward God, with its opposite, the improper attitude of legalism,
it would be hard not to understand verse 12 as continuing this contrast of attitudes.”83
Conclusion
In Galatians 3:10–12 Paul proves what he has already asserted in 2:16. No one is
justified before God by observing the Law. The Law can only curse, but blessing comes
on the basis of faith. This principle was true in the example of Abraham (Gen 15:6), and
God confirmed that it applies generally in Habakkuk 2:4. Anyone who tries to be justified
by obeying the Law will fail. The legalist is in a hopeless position, since the Law brings
only a curse and provides no way out. In verse 13 Paul introduces the solution to this
problem. As Charles Cosgrove says, “Even though legalists are under a curse,
nevertheless Christ redeemed men from that very curse by becoming a curse himself.”84
82
Bruce, Galatians, 162.
83
Fuller, “Paul,” 41.
84
Charles H. Cosgrove, “The Mosaic Law Preaches Faith: A Study in Galatians
3,” Westminster Theological Journal 41/1 (Fall 1978): 150.
108
Paul quotes Deuteronomy 21:23 to show that Christ took the curse upon Himself at the
crucifixion. The “blessing of Abraham” and “the promise of the Spirit” are available in
Christ through faith (Gal 3:14).
CHAPTER FIVE
HABAKKUK 2:4 IN ROMANS AND GALATIANS
Now that Habakkuk 2:4, Romans 1:17, and Galatians 3:11 have been carefully
examined, the results can be compared to determine how Paul has used the Old
Testament in this case.
Comparison of the New Testament Verses with Habakkuk 2:4
If the above exegesis is correct, Paul did not use Habakkuk 2:4 according to its
grammatical-historical meaning. In Habakkuk, “the righteous” refer to Jews who lived
before the Babylonian invasion of Judah and who had a right standing before God based
on their observance of the Law. In Romans and Galatians, Paul’s use of “the righteous”
refers primarily to Gentile Christians, who had been declared righteous on the basis of
their faith in Christ. When God told Habakkuk that the righteous would “live,” He was
promising that they would survive the invasion. Paul’s view of life is closely tied with
salvation in general and justification in particular; these were not in the context of
Habakkuk. Finally, the prophet refers to “faithfulness” as the means by which the
righteous would live. For Paul, it is “faith” that provides the foundation for righteousness
and the resulting life.
Habakkuk 2:4b consists of three Hebrew words, and Paul’s interpretation of the
verse differs from the original context for all three. It is clear that Paul was not merely
110
using the words of the Old Testament to make a new point of his own, since he
introduces the quotation with “as it is written” in Romans 1:17. (The phrase “it is written”
does not appear before the Old Testament quotations in Galatians 3:11–12, but it does
appear before the quotations in verses 10 and 13, and so it is implied in verses 11 and 12.)
Moreover, Paul was not simply applying a universal truth from Habakkuk to a new
context, for his use of the text requires a different sense for the words than the original
Hebrew. If these conclusions are correct, then Romans 1:17 and Galatians 3:11 provide
two examples of non-literal uses of Habakkuk 2:4.
It should be noted that the context of Habakkuk gives hints of its more general
application. Although the immediate context indicates that 2:4 refers to the wicked
Chaldeans, verse 14 indicates that the vision awaits eschatological fulfillment (“For the
earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the
sea”). Thus, “the scope of the prophecy extends to a contrast of the wicked and righteous
in general. In this wider context Paul finds the meaning of the vision.”1 While Paul’s use
extends beyond the literal interpretation of Habakkuk 2:4, when the rest of Habakkuk 2 is
considered, one sees hints that God’s intention may have been broader. Paul’s citations
make clear what God’s additional intention was.2
1
E. Earle Ellis, Paul’s Use of the Old Testament (Edinburgh, Scotland: Oliver and
Boyd, 1957), 121.
2
Note that if the New Testament reveals a new meaning for an Old Testament
passage in addition to the grammatical-historical interpretation of this Old Testament
passage, this new meaning does not necessarily contradict the original meaning. God may
have two intentions for an Old Testament passage, one of which is revealed by the Old
Testament context and the other by the New Testament context. These two intentions
need not be contradictory or opposite. Nevertheless, there are two distinct meanings, as
111
Survey of Modern Approaches
There are several schools of thought regarding the New Testament use of the Old
Testament. Since Paul does not use Habakkuk according to its original sense in Romans
and Galatians, these approaches must be explored. The approach that best fits the
exegetical data presented above and that also adheres to the best hermeneutical principles
should be accepted. Darrell Bock provides a useful classification of the four main schools
of thought.3 His classification will be followed below. Representatives of the schools of
thought will be allowed to explain their approaches in their own words. A critique of each
position will then be offered.
Full Human Intent
Bock calls the first the “Full Human Intent School.” He writes, “The basic
premise of this school is that if hermeneutics is to have validity then all that is asserted in
the Old Testament passage must have been a part of the human author’s intended
complementary as they may be. Note that this situation is not the same as the application
of the original meaning of an Old Testament passage to a new context. One expects this
type of application to be found in the New Testament. However, this thesis argues that
Paul’s use of Habakkuk 2:4 is not merely an application. Instead, God intended two
distinct (complementary, not contradictory) meanings for the words uttered by the
prophet. God’s full intention was unknown at the human level until it was revealed
through Paul. These issues will be discussed further below.
3
Darrell L. Bock, “Evangelicals and the Use of the Old Testament in the New,
Part 1,” Bibliotheca Sacra 142/567 (July 1985): 209–20. In a recent work Bock notes,
“Little has changed in the character of the four basic schools discussed in this article or in
the issues evangelicals are concerned about in this area” (Darrell L. Bock, “Scripture
Citing Scripture: Use of the Old Testament in the New,” in Interpreting the New
Testament Text: Introduction to the Art and Science of Exegesis, ed. Darrell L. Bock and
Buist M. Fanning, 255–76 (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway, 2006), 264 n. 13.
112
meaning.”4 This approach sees some Old Testament prophecy as generic, so that the
prophet intended a series of fulfillments. According to this view, the human author was
aware of the series, although he may not have known the relative timing of its members.
Walter Kaiser
Walter Kaiser is the primary scholar in this camp. In his book on this subject,
Kaiser is particularly concerned with those Old Testament citations that are used “for the
purposes of argument.”5 Kaiser does not think a “fuller meaning” would be convincing.
He asks, “If the apostles claim they found such plenary meanings in the OT only by aid
of the Holy Spirit in them as authors of Scripture, why must they appeal to the OT?”6
Instead, Kaiser insists that the human author understood the full sense intended by God.
According to Kaiser, the single meaning imparted by God to the prophet included the
historical sense that applied to the prophet’s own day, a sense that applied to a future
fulfillment, and “the common plan of God in which both the word, the present historical
realization, and the distant realization shared.” He claims that these “parts of the plan of
4
Bock, “Use of the Old Testament, Part 1,” 210 (emphasis original).
5
Walter C. Kaiser Jr., The Uses of the Old Testament in the New (Chicago:
Moody Press, 1985), 17. It may be debated which New Testament citations of the Old
Testament should be classified as “for the purposes of argument.” Moo notes, “We must
ask to what extent the New Testament appeal to Scripture is intended for ‘general’
consumption or with apologetic purpose” (Douglas J. Moo, “The Problem of ‘Sensus
Plenior,’” in Hermeneutics, Authority and Canon, ed. D. A. Carson and John D.
Woodbridge, 179–211 [Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1986], 203).
6
Kaiser, Uses of the Old Testament, 29. Kaiser seems to assume that first-century
and modern argumentation are the same. However, “we must be careful not to think that
methods of proof not convincing to us would necessarily have been equally unconvincing
to first-century Jews” (Moo, “Sensus Plenior,” 203).
113
God . . . were generic or corporate terms that were deliberately used to include the
historical antecedents as well as the realities yet to come.” Kaiser continues, “The
promise embraced yet another perspective in its single meaning: the means that God used
to fulfill that word in the contemporary environment of the prophetic speaker and the
result or even series of results that issued forth from that word.”7
Critique
Kaiser is to be commended for his defense of the single meaning of prophecies.8
However, he violates the single-meaning principle when he suggests the idea of “generic
promise,” by which he means that “many prophecies begin with a word that ushers in not
only a climactic fulfillment, but a series of events, all of which participate in and lead up
to that climactic or ultimate event in a protracted series that belong together as a unit
because of their corporate or collective solidarity.”9 He asserts, “The whole set of events
makes up one collective totality and constitutes only one idea, even though the events
may be spread over a large segment of history by the deliberate plan of God.”10 He
suggests several contextual markers that identify the presence of a generic promise,
including collective singular nouns, shifts between singular and plural, and the analogy of
7
Kaiser, Uses of the Old Testament, 29.
8
Ibid., 63–66.
9
Ibid., 67.
10
Ibid., 67–68 (emphasis original).
114
“antecedent theology.”11 The exegete can detect the antecedent theology of a text through
the presence of technical terms, direct quotations, allusions to earlier texts, allusions to
earlier events, or references to God’s promises or covenants.12 Kaiser has applied this
approach to a number of texts. It is likely that he has produced a number of valid
exegetical insights. However, his approach does not adequately explain every use of the
Old Testament in the New, an example being Paul’s use of Habakkuk 2:4.13
Moreover, Kaiser’s approach may be built on faulty premises. Philip Payne
argues that it is a fallacy to equate meaning with the human author’s intention. He claims
that the human author’s intention “does not necessarily exhaust the meaning of his
statements, especially in more poetic and predictive writings. Ultimately God is the
author of Scripture, and it is his intention alone that exhaustively determines its
meaning.”14 God might reveal more through a text than its author understood, and “an
exegete can know that God has done this only when further revelation shows that he
11
Ibid., 68. Antecedent theology of a given text includes “all that has preceded it
in the history of revelation” (ibid., 68–69; emphasis original).
12
Ibid., 69.
13
As far as the present writer is aware, Kaiser has not published anything on
Paul’s use of Habakkuk 2:4. The claim that Kaiser’s approach is unsatisfactory with
regard to this passage is made under the assumption that the exegesis provided by this
thesis is accurate and that Habakkuk’s original meaning and Paul’s meaning are not the
same. Kaiser assumes such a situation is impossible.
14
Philip B. Payne, “The Fallacy of Equating Meaning with the Human Author’s
Intention,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 20/3 (September 1977): 243
(emphasis original).
115
did.”15 Moreover, biblical interpretation must deal with the Holy Spirit’s role in inspiring
the text. Can one be sure that the work of the Spirit was always part of the human
author’s intention?16 The prophet’s intention in Habakkuk 2:4 was to reproduce verbatim
what God had said. It is not necessary to assume that Habakkuk understood everything
God intended or the full implications of what God spoke.
Scott Swanson notes that advocates of the other schools may have underestimated
how much the human authors understood.17 However, he claims that Kaiser “does not
consistently base his messianic interpretations on the OT apart from the NT.” Kaiser does
show that the New Testament interpretations “are consistent with what contextual
exegesis can determine to be the human author’s intention”; however, “it is often the case
that grammatical-historical exegesis alone, without the added verification or information
from the NT, is not able to provide sufficient warrant for confidently deducing the
implications drawn by the NT.”18
Paul’s use of Habakkuk 2:4 provides a good example of this. Kaiser joins those
scholars who argue for a reference to faith in Habakkuk 2:4.19 However, apart from
15
Ibid.
16
Ibid., 249.
17
Scott A. Swanson, “Can We Reproduce the Exegesis of the New Testament?
Why Are We Still Asking?” Trinity Journal 17/1 (1996): 69.
18
Ibid., 70.
He asserts that hn"Wma/ in Habakkuk 2:4 means “simply an unwavering trust in
God’s Word” (Walter C. Kaiser Jr., Toward an Old Testament Theology [Grand Rapids,
Mich.: Zondervan, 1978], 227). His only evidence is a citation of C. von Orelli, The Old
19
116
Paul’s quotation of this text, there is no grammatical-historical reason to look for such a
reference. Exegesis of Habakkuk without reference to the New Testament would find
only a reference to faithfulness. To conform Paul to the original meaning of Habakkuk
would violate the context of Romans and Galatians, but to conform Habakkuk to Paul
would take the exegete dangerously close to the canonical approach (the fourth school of
thought, discussed below), which Kaiser rightly rejects because it reads the New
Testament into the Old.20
Many scholars would like Kaiser to be right. Then the New Testament use of the
Old Testament would not present a problem. However, the present writer agrees with
Douglas Moo’s assessment:
While remaining extremely sympathetic to Kaiser’s general approach, and, in
fact, strongly supporting much of what he says, I am not convinced that his
approach offers an ultimately satisfactory answer to all the problems raised by the
use of the Old Testament in the New. There are places where the New Testament
attributes to Old Testament texts more meaning than it can be legitimately
inferred the human author was aware of.21
Ultimately, Kaiser’s view cannot explain all the exegetical data. Another approach is
necessary to account for some New Testament uses of the Old Testament.
Testament Prophecy of the Consummation of God’s Kingdom Traced in Its Historical
Development, trans. J. J. Banks (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1889), 325.
20
Of course, Kaiser might develop his argument in a different way. One who
addresses Habakkuk 2:4 specifically and argues from a perspective similar to Kaiser’s is
Robert P. Martin, “‘The Just Shall Live by Faith’: Habakkuk 2:4 in Romans 1:16–17,”
Reformed Baptist Theological Review 3/2 (Fall 2006): 3–26.
21
Moo, “Sensus Plenior,” 201.
117
Divine Intent–Human Words
The second approach is the “Divine Intent–Human Words School.” Bock notes,
“The key emphasis of this school of thought is that prophetic passages all draw on the
human author’s words but that the human author did not always fully intend or
comprehend the prophetic reference, while God did intend the full reference.”22 S. Lewis
Johnson and James I. Packer refer to sensus plenior, whereby God’s intention may
exceed the meaning of the human author. God never says less than the human author, but
He might say more. Elliot E. Johnson prefers references plenior. He distinguishes
between “sense” and “reference.” The former refers to the meaning of the words of the
text regardless of reference, while the later refers to the specific referent to which the
sense is applied. E. Johnson believes each text has one sense, but God may have intended
more references than the human author did.23
James I. Packer and S. Lewis Johnson
Although Packer acknowledges that the divine intention may go beyond the
human intention, he cautions, “The sensus plenior which texts acquire in their wider
biblical context remains an extrapolation on the grammatico-historical plane, not a new
22
23
Bock, “Use of the Old Testament, Part 1,” 212–13.
Ibid., 214. Bock’s treatment is a fair summary of Elliott E. Johnson, “Author’s
Intention and Biblical Interpretation,” in Hermeneutics, Inerrancy and the Bible, ed. Earl
D. Radmacher and Robert D. Preus, 407–29 (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1984),
416–17.
118
projection onto the plane of allegory.”24 S. L. Johnson quotes from this same passage of
Packer with agreement.25 He anticipates the objection that this approach reads the New
Testament into the Old Testament. He admits that one should do grammatical-historical
exegesis on the Old Testament text first, but he adds, “To use this as an excuse to reject
typical and prophetic sense in Scripture is . . . to reject authorial will, as the use of the
Old Testament in the New Testament indicates.”26 In other words, the New Testament
use of the Old Testament indicates that the divine Author intended more than the human
author in some cases.
Elliot E. Johnson
E. Johnson quotes both S. L. Johnson and J. I. Packer with approval, which
implies that his proposal is not very different from theirs. However, he rejects the sensus
plenior terminology, since he insists that the biblical text has a single, defining sense. He
says, “The single sense is capably of implying a fullness of reference,” and thus he
suggests the term references plenior.27 Bock notes a slight difference in nuance between
the two terms:
24
J. I. Packer, “Biblical Authority, Hermeneutics and Inerrancy,” in Jerusalem
and Athens: Critical Discussions on the Philosophy and Apologetics of Cornelius Van
Til, ed. E. R. Geehan, 141–53 (Phillipsburg, New Jersey: Presbyterian and Reformed
Publishing Co., 1971), 148.
25
S. Lewis Johnson Jr., The Old Testament in the New: An Argument for Biblical
Inspiration (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1980), 50.
26
Ibid., 51.
27
E. Johnson, “Author’s Intention,” 427.
119
Packer’s sensus plenior sees the limitation that prevents an arbitrary fulfillment as
residing in “the implications of the words” in the light of the progress of
revelation. While Elliott Johnson’s limitation is found in the non-alteration of the
“defining sense” of the human author’s words. Thus Packer’s limitation is slightly
more open-ended than Johnson’s.28
Critique
The sensus plenior and references plenior approaches raise a number of
hermeneutical questions, including the legitimacy of the grammatical-historical method
itself. Jack Riggs asks, “If the use of the grammatical-historical method does not produce
the full meaning of certain texts, how can one be sure that the fuller meaning is in fact
discovered by the application of that same method to later texts supposedly revealing the
fuller meaning of the earlier texts?”29 The answer is that God is responsible for revealing
whatever fuller meaning He intended according to His own timing. If the grammaticalhistorical method does not reveal God’s full intention, then further revelation is required.
It is not legitimate for humans to seek fuller meanings beyond what God has revealed in
later texts.
Although Moo does not see “any compelling reason for rejecting the hypothesis,”
he hesitates to embrace it as a solution for the whole problem of the New Testament use
of the Old Testament. Sometimes the New Testament author appeals to the human author
in a questionable citation. For example, Peter refers to David regarding Psalm 16 (Acts
2:25–28). Also, the New Testament “gives the impression that the meaning they find in
28
29
Bock, “Use of the Old Testament, Part 1,” 215 (emphasis original).
Jack R. Riggs, “The ‘Fuller Meaning’ of Scripture: A Hermeneutical Question
for Evangelicals,” Grace Theological Journal 7 (Fall 1986): 227.
120
the Old Testament can be seen by others, too, once certain basic presuppositions are
granted (see Jn 3:10; Mk 12:26).”30
Historical Progress of Revelation and Jewish Hermeneutic
The third approach is the “Historical Progress of Revelation and Jewish
Hermeneutic School.” Bock states, “The main characteristic of this school of thought is
its utilization of historical factors in assessing the hermeneutics of the relationship of the
two Testaments.”31 Although the New Testament use of the Old may not conform to
modern principles of grammatical-historical exegesis, this approach asserts that the New
Testament authors utilized accepted Jewish hermeneutics. This approach also emphasizes
the Christological perspective provided by the historical situation of the New Testament
authors. Moo calls this the “most popular explanation.”32
James Sanders
James Sanders claims, “The type of exegesis found at Qumran is largely the same
as is found in the New Testament. They each employ a kind of historical typology.”33
Regarding Paul’s use of Habakkuk 2:4, he notes, “While the emphasis in Habakkuk is on
acceptance of the divine judgment and commitment to the sovereignty of God in
30
Moo, “Sensus Plenior,” 204.
31
Bock “Use of the Old Testament, Part 1,” 216.
32
Moo, “Sensus Plenior,” 192.
33
James A. Sanders, “Habakkuk in Qumran, Paul, and the Old Testament,” in
Paul and the Scriptures of Israel, ed. Craig A. Evans and James A. Sanders, 98–117,
Journal for the Study of the New Testament Supplement Series 83 (Sheffield, Eng.: JSOT
Press, 1993), 98.
121
adversity, the emphasis in Paul is on faith in the person of Christ.”34 The Qumran
understanding of Habakkuk 2:4 reflects the same method of exegesis, according to
Sanders. Although the concept of faith and the object of faith are different (“the Teacher
of Righteousness” versus “God in Christ”), both Qumran and Paul interpreted Habakkuk
in the sense of faith in a person.35 Paul and Qumran also shared the perspective of “the
inbreaking eschaton.” While neither denied Habakkuk’s original meaning, both felt an
obligation to “modernize Habakkuk.” Sanders claims, “Their belief was that Habakkuk’s
faith was a canonical faith, and, if canonical, then its application was not limited to its
original expression; indeed, it had an especial application to the eschaton.”36
Richard Longenecker
Richard Longenecker also represents this school. He claims, “The Jewish roots of
Christianity make it a priori likely that the exegetical procedures of the New Testament
34
Ibid., 100.
35
Ibid. Recalling the discussion of 1QpHab in chapter 2 of this thesis, one may
doubt that Sanders is correct regarding Qumran. It seems more likely that the pesher
refers to faithfulness to the Teacher of Righteousness. Note also the comment of Don
Garlington: “The shock effect for the Jew of Paul’s usage of Habakkuk is that pivsti"
(hnwma) is now detachable from the Torah. Paul thus stands in obvious juxtaposition to
1QpHab 8:1–3 (cf. CD 20:27–34), where faith in the Teacher of Righteousness as the
authoritative expounder of the law is said to be the fulfillment of Hab 2:4” (Don B.
Garlington, Faith, Obedience and Perseverance: Aspects of Paul’s Letter to the Romans,
Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 79 [Tübingen, Germ.: J. C. B.
Mohr, 1994], 49 n. 28; emphasis original). Sanders’ argument also assumes that Paul
intended to provide an interpretation of the original meaning of Habakkuk. One should
resist making this assumption until all the exegetical data has been carefully considered.
It is the argument of this thesis that Paul did not intend to provide the original meaning of
Habakkuk.
36
J. Sanders, “Habakkuk,” 107.
122
would resemble to some extent those of then contemporary Judaism.”37 He also adds,
“But the Jewish context in which the New Testament came to birth, significant though it
was, is not what was distinctive or formative in the exegesis of the earliest believers. At
the heart of their biblical interpretation is a Christology and a Christocentric
perspective.”38 He notes, “Jewish exegesis of the first century can generally be classified
under four headings: literalist, midrashic, pesher and allegorical.”39 The literalist and
allegorical methods are well known, but the other two require some explanation.
Midrash
Longenecker writes, “The central concept in rabbinic exegesis, and presumably in
that of the earlier Pharisees as well, was ‘midrash.’ The word . . . strictly denotes an
interpretive exposition however derived and irrespective of the type of material under
consideration.”40 There were seven principles of rabbinic exegesis, traditionally attributed
to Hillel:41 (1) “What applies in a less important case will certainly apply in a more
important case.” (2) “Where the same words are applied to two separate cases it follows
that the same considerations apply to both.” (3) “When the same phrase is found in a
number of passages, then a consideration found in one of them applies to all of them.” (4)
37
Richard N. Longenecker, Biblical Exegesis in the Apostolic Period (Grand
Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1975), 205.
38
Ibid., 207.
39
Ibid., 28.
40
Ibid., 32.
41
Ibid., 34–35.
123
“A principle is established by relating two texts together; the principle can then be
applied to other passages.” (5) “A general principle may be restricted by a
particularization of it in another verse; or conversely, a particular rule may be extended
into a general principle.” (6) “A difficulty in one text may be solved by comparing it with
another which has points of general (though not necessarily verbal) similarity.” (7) “A
meaning [is] established by its context.” Some of these principles continue to be used
today, while others are very questionable.
Longenecker believes Paul made use of some of these techniques. For example,
“A recurring feature in Paul’s biblical quotations, and one that points up his midrashic
heritage, is the Pharisaic practice of ‘pearl stringing’; that is, of bringing to bear on one
point of an argument passages from various parts of the Bible in support of the argument
and to demonstrate the unity of Scripture.”42 As an example, he cites Galatians 3:10–13
(where Paul quotes from Deut 27:26; Hab 2:4; Lev 18:5; Deut 21:23).43 Longenecker
comments, “Involved in ‘pearl stringing,’ of course, is the highlighting of analogous
words or expressions in the various passages, which serves as the basis for their union.
And this feature of midrashic exposition is also apparent in the Pauline quotations.”44 He
cites as examples Galatians 3:10 (ejpikatavrato") and 3:11–12 (zhvsetai).45
42
Ibid., 115.
43
Ibid., 116.
44
Ibid.
45
Ibid., 117.
124
Pesher
Since the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the hermeneutics of Qumran have
been explored. Longenecker writes, “The exposition in the materials from Qumran is
usually introduced by the term ‘pesher,’ a word meaning ‘solution’ or ‘interpretation.’”46
For those who lived at Qumran, the Old Testament had an eschatological meaning. They
believed they lived in the eschatological age, so this veiled meaning applied to them.47
The authors of the New Testament also had an eschatological outlook. Some scholars
would classify the New Testament’s Christological interpretation of Old Testament texts,
which do not appear Messianic at first glance, as the “pesher” type of exegesis.
Joseph Fitzmyer
After studying the exegesis employed at Qumran, Joseph Fitzmyer found four
classes of quotations of the Old Testament: (1) “the Literal or Historical class,” (2) “the
class of Modernization,” (3) “the class of Accommodation,” and (4) “the Eschatological
class.”48 The first class employs the original sense of the Old Testament text. In the
second class, also known as typology, “the same general sense of the Old Testament text
is preserved, but it is applied to a new subject.”49 The third class is similar to the second
in that the text is applied to a new situation. “However, it differs in this that the Old
46
Ibid., 38.
47
Ibid., 39.
48
Joseph A. Fitzmyer, “The Use of Explicit Old Testament Quotations in Qumran
Literature and in the New Testament,” New Testament Studies 7 (1960–61): 305.
49
Ibid., 309 (emphasis original).
125
Testament text in this case is usually wrested from its original context or modified
somehow to suit the new situation.”50 In the fourth class “the Old Testament quotation
expressed a promise or threat about something to be accomplished in the eschaton and
which the Qumran writer cited as something still to be accomplished in the new eschaton
of which he wrote.”51 Fitzmyer remarks, “In some ways this group of quotations occupies
a middle ground, as it were, between the first group and the other two, for in many cases
the Old Testament text is quoted in the sense originally intended, but it is also extended
to a new situation which is expected.”52 Fitzmyer claims, “All four classes can be
illustrated by New Testament passages as well. We do not want to imply that these four
classes exhaust the grouping of the New Testament quotations.”53 He concludes, “The
exegetical practices of the New Testament writers is [sic] quite similar to that of their
Jewish contemporaries, which is best illustrated by the Qumran literature.”54
Critique
Moo believes similarities between first-century Jewish sources’ and the New
Testament’s use of the OT are “undeniable”; however, “we should recognize that the
degree of influence of Jewish exegetical methods on New Testament procedure has often
50
Ibid., 316.
51
Ibid., 305–6.
52
Ibid., 325.
53
Ibid., 306.
54
Ibid., 330.
126
been considerably exaggerated.”55 G. K. Beale observes that most examples of rabbinic
exegesis available today date to after AD 70. Thus, modern scholars cannot be sure
whether rabbinic exegesis involved non-contextual, midrashic interpretation at the time
of the writing of the New Testament. Moreover, Beale questions the assumption that the
New Testament authors adopted contemporary Jewish hermeneutics, since early
Christians had a “unique perspective in comparison with early Judaism.”56 Another
problem with this school is that it makes hermeneutics culturally relative. In effect, this
approach claims that even though the exegetical methods of the authors of the New
Testament would be wrong today, these methods were not wrong in the culture in which
they wrote.
Canonical Approach and New Testament Priority
The fourth approach is the “Canonical Approach and New Testament Priority
School.” This approach sees the Old Testament text in the light of the expanding canon.
The New Testament is used to deepen and clarify the meaning of the Old Testament.57
According to this school, the Old Testament authors wrote in ideal language, and God’s
intention for this language becomes clear only in the light of later revelation. According
to this school, “the whole of the Old Testament is to be reread ultimately in light of the
55
Moo, “Sensus Plenior,” 192–93.
56
G. K. Beale, “Did Jesus and His Followers Preach the Right Doctrine from the
Wrong Texts? An Examination of the Presuppositions of Jesus’ and the Apostles’
Exegetical Method,” in The Right Doctrine from the Wrong Texts? Essays on the Use of
the Old Testament in the New, ed. G. K. Beale, 387–404 (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker,
1994), 388.
57
Bock, “Use of the Old Testament, Part 1,” 219.
127
New Testament; as a result the original expression of meaning within the Old Testament
passage is overridden and redefined by the New Testament.”58
Bruce Waltke
Bruce Waltke calls this the “canonical process approach,” which asserts that “the
text’s intention became deeper and clearer as the parameters of the canon were
expanded.”59 He believes that “the original authorial intention was not changed in the
progressive development of the canon but deepened and clarified.”60 He admits that this
approach is similar to the sensus plenior idea, but unlike that approach, he does not
“divorce the human authorial intention from the divine intention”; instead, he claims the
human author used ideal language, and later revelation clarified “the exact shape of the
ideals always pregnant in the vision.”61 Waltke also states, “Because God is the author of
the whole Bible, any piece of literature within it must be studied in the light of its whole
literary context.” Moreover, “The full meaning of an earlier and smaller text cannot be
gained without interpreting it in the light of the entire Bible.”62
58
Ibid., 220.
59
Bruce K. Waltke, “A Canonical Process Approach to the Psalms,” in Tradition
and Testament: Essays in Honor of Charles Lee Feinberg, ed. John S. Feinberg and Paul
D. Feinberg, 3–18 (Chicago: Moody Press, 1981), 7.
60
Ibid., 8.
61
Ibid. Similarly, Moo claims that this approach decreases the distinction between
the human and divine authorial intentions; instead of a sensus plenior there is a “sensus
praegnans” (Moo, “Sensus Plenior,” 206).
62
Waltke, “Canonical Process Approach,” 10. These assertions will be critiqued
(and denied) after the discussion of Douglas Oss.
128
Douglas Oss
Douglas Oss also proposes a canonical approach.63 He believes the canon is a
“single and unified literary work,” and thus, “no part can be properly understood apart
from the whole.”64 When a text is seen in the light of the whole Bible, its meaning will
become “deeper and clearer.” Oss claims, “This may include levels of meaning that were
not part of the conscious intention of the human author, but which are included in the
expressed meaning of the publicly accessible text and which are a part of the canonical
context.”65 Later he states, “The Bible as an integrated whole is more meaningful than its
discrete parts.”66 Oss anticipates the objection that his approach violates the singlemeaning principle, so he responds by refining the meaning of “single meaning.” He
claims, “Meaning in texts is multi-dimensional. The ‘single meaning’ in a text refers to
its unity of meaning, with all of its dimensions being connected to the results of
grammatical-historical exegesis.”67
Of course, this “multi-dimensional” meaning is not the result of grammaticalhistorical exegesis of an Old Testament text. Oss states explicitly, “It is necessary for the
church to read the OT in the light of Christ. In addition, because the NT is the record of
63
Douglas A. Oss, “Canon as Context: The Function of Sensus Plenior in
Evangelical Hermeneutics,” Grace Theological Journal 9/1 (Spring 1988): 105–27.
64
Ibid., 107.
65
Ibid.
66
Ibid., 112.
67
Ibid., 115.
129
Christ’s person and work, it is necessary also that the OT be read in light of the NT.”68
This is a dangerous hermeneutical principle and calls into question the perspicuity of the
Old Testament. The Old Testament must be allowed to speak for itself. Sanders notes,
“The Old Testament was the New Testament’s major premise. If that be so, then the Old
Testament case for faith must be seriously examined on its own terms. To do anything
less makes the New Testament claim a sham and a farce.”69
Oss tries to safeguard his method from abuse: “The deeper meaning of a text may
never contradict the results of a careful exegesis of that text. Nor may it be unrelated to
the results of exegesis.”70 However, if exegesis of the Old Testament is not sufficient to
reveal its meaning, then how is “careful exegesis” possible without turning to the New
Testament? Oss seems to have vicious circle. One must do exegesis of the Old
Testament, but the exegesis is not complete until the canonical context has been
considered, but the canonical context cannot be used until one understands the Old
Testament text well enough to know how it relates to other texts.
Oss provides five arguments to show that the grammatical-historical method is
insufficient: (1) “The ‘scientific’ grammatical-historical method is itself shaped by the
community from which it arises. Consequently, the results of the method will be slanted
toward a western mind-set.” (2) “The illusion of absolute objectivity can prevent one
from apprehending all the layers of meaning that might be in a text.” (3) “A narrow and
68
Ibid., 119.
69
J. Sanders, “Habakkuk,” 102.
70
Ibid., 122.
130
fragmentizing exegesis can have the opposite result and reach conclusions that are too
vague. Apart from the canonical context one may miss pertinent information that would
have the effect of making a text clear.” (4) “The emphasis of much exegesis is still upon
smaller units of communication such as words and sentences. . . . Thus the results tend to
be atomistic and perhaps not that relevant to the larger conceptual framework.” (5) “An
overly scientific methodology may cause one to miss the primary goal of hermeneutics,
namely, a personal encounter with the risen Lord.”71
Perhaps other members of this school of thought would not agree with Oss on
every point, but some such arguments seem to provide the foundation for this school. It is
obvious from the quotations above that this represents a major modification of traditional
Protestant hermeneutics. In the context of Paul’s use of Habakkuk, this approach would
suggest that Habakkuk 2:4b means both “the righteous Israelite will live by his
faithfulness” (from exegesis of Habakkuk) and “the righteous Christian will live by faith”
(from exegesis of Romans and Galatians). However, according to this school, what seems
like two meanings are really just two dimensions of the “single meaning” of Habakkuk
2:4. The present writer rejects the hermeneutical gymnastics required to make this view
feasible.
Critique
Moo offers four arguments in support of this school: (1) “It builds on the
scripturally sound basis of a redemptive-historical framework, in which the Old
Testament as a whole points forward to, anticipates, and prefigures Christ and the
71
Ibid., 122–23.
131
church.”72 (2) “This scheme can be shown to have its antecedents in what the Old
Testament itself does with earlier revelation.”73 (3) This approach decreases the
distinction between the human and divine authorial intentions as compared with the
sensus plenior approach. (4) “The ‘fuller sense’ discovered by Jesus and the apostles in
Old Testament texts is, at least to some extent, open to verification. One can, by reading
the Old Testament in the light of its completion and as a whole, as they did, often
demonstrate the validity of the added meaning they find in texts.”74 The weight of these
arguments depends on one’s own theology. The proponents of the other schools probably
would not be impressed.
For example, Kaiser rejects the idea that the whole must guide the interpretation
of the parts: “What is it that the whole or unity of Scripture teaches that cannot be found
in the individual parts by the grammar and syntax?”75 He argues that if the canon
provides a different sense to a particular text, then “we must deny that such a different
sense is scriptural (i.e., graphē, ‘written’) at all. Indeed, had it been written, we could
have obtained it from the grammar and syntax at hand.” He continues, “Should someone
plead, ‘But that is a biblical sense which can be shown from another passage to be fully
72
Moo, “Sensus Plenior,” 205.
73
Ibid.
74
Ibid., 206.
75
Walter C. Kaiser Jr., “A Response to Author’s Intention and Biblical
Interpretation,” in Hermeneutics, Inerrancy and the Bible, ed. Earl D. Radmacher and
Robert D. Preus, 439–47 (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1984), 444.
132
scriptural,’ we will reply, ‘Then let us go to that passage for that teaching rather than
transporting it to odd locations in earlier parts of the canon.”76
This school does not allow the Old Testament to speak on its own. Instead, the
canonical approach reads the New Testament back into the Old Testament, which
undermines the scriptural authority of the Old Testament. The only way to get around this
is to suppose multiple meanings, one from the Old Testament and a second from the
canonical context. This clearly violates the single-meaning principle.
Eclectic Approach
Bock proposes an eclectic approach, designed to take the best from each school.77
Against Kaiser, Bock maintains a distinction between the intentions of the divine and
human authors. With E. Johnson, Bock allows multiple referents, although he is careful
to note the several ways in which sense and reference can relate. Bock recognizes the
importance of the progress of revelation, though he cautions that one should be aware of
both what the human author originally understood (cf. Kaiser’s emphasis on “antecedent
theology”) and what God made known through later revelation or the events of Jesus’
life. Bock also believes that any alterations of an Old Testament text found in the New
76
77
Ibid., 445.
Bock, “Scripture Citing Scripture,” 268–74; Darrell L. Bock, “Evangelicals and
the Use of the Old Testament in the New, Part 2,” Bibliotheca Sacra 142/568 (October
1985): 306–16.
133
Testament were not arbitrary, “rather they reflect accurate biblical theological
considerations of the New Testament authors on the original Old Testament text.”78
According to Bock, there are two ways to read a text, the “historical-exegetical”
and the “theological-canonical.” The first seems to refer to the grammatical-historical
meaning. The second “views the text in light of subsequent revelation and the full force
the passage comes to have because of that additional revelation.”79 This is close to the
canonical approach, but, unlike the adherents of that school, Bock believes “the NT
meaning can develop or complement what the OT meant, but never in a way that ends up
denying what the OT originally affirmed.”80
Like any eclectic approach, Bock risks adopting the weaknesses of the various
schools along with their strengths. For example, he has the same problem with the singlemeaning principle as E. Johnson when he accepts references plenior. Bock violates the
single-meaning principle again when he accepts both the “canonical meaning” and the
original meaning as equally valid ways of understanding a text.
Conclusion
Many more scholars could be quoted, but they would present only variations of
the views given above. After careful examination, the four schools and Bock’s eclectic
approach are not entirely satisfactory. The Full Human Intent School should be
commended for its commitment to the Old Testament text, but it is unable to explain the
78
Ibid., 315–16; the quotation is on page 316.
79
Bock, “Scripture Citing Scripture,” 268.
80
Ibid., 269.
134
nonliteral uses of the Old Testament. The Divine Intent–Human Words School correctly
recognizes that the New Testament interpretation of some Old Testament texts exceeds
the grammatical-historical meaning of that text; however, this school does not admit the
extent to which the New Testament gives a different sense. The Historical Progress of
Revelation and Jewish Hermeneutic School recognizes the impact that Christ had on His
followers, and it attempts to place the New Testament within its historical context in the
first-century Jewish world. However, this approach often exaggerates the similarities
between Jewish exegesis and the New Testament authors’ exegesis while underestimating
the differences. The Canonical Approach and New Testament Priority School has a
legitimate desire to demonstrate the unity of Scripture, but in assigning priority to the
New Testament this school commits a hermeneutical blunder and denigrates the Old
Testament. An eclectic approach acknowledges the positive aspects of each school but is
unable to avoid their weaknesses.
The Preferred Approach
A question often arises in any discussion of the New Testament’s use of the Old
Testament: If the New Testament authors did not use grammatical-historical exegesis,
should modern scholars follow their lead? Many assume that the New Testament authors
provide a model for modern hermeneutics. Some would find sensus plenior meanings of
New Testament texts or of Old Testament texts that are never cited by the New
Testament. Others would use the alleged canonical context to support a particular
theological stance despite Old Testament passages that would seem to deny that theology.
The church must be protected from such abuses. Kaiser provides such protection by
135
equating divine and human authorial intentions, but his approach cannot withstand sound
exegesis of some passages, such as Paul’s use of Habakkuk.
The other way to protect the church is to highlight the special circumstances
under which the authors of the New Testament wrote. In other words, one can deny that
the New Testament provides a model for hermeneutics. John Walton claims, “If you have
inspiration, you do not need historical-grammatical hermeneutics. If you do not have
inspiration, you must proceed by the acknowledged guidelines of hermeneutics. The
credibility of any interpretation is based on the verifiability of either one’s inspiration or
one’s hermeneutics.”81 Walton concludes, “We do not wish to reproduce the
hermeneutics of NT authors because they, by virtue of inspiration, accrued authority to
themselves by means unavailable to us. We seek only to proclaim what the text, in its
authority, has already revealed.”82 Modern scholars should adopt sound hermeneutical
principles, but they need not demand that the authors of inspired texts always adhere to
these principles. These observations will keep the exegete from making false assumptions
about the practices of the New Testament authors.
What, then, did the New Testament authors do? The approach that best defends
the grammatical-historical meaning of both the Old Testament and the New Testament is
proposed by Robert Thomas. There are many times when the New Testament uses an Old
81
John H. Walton, “Inspired Subjectivity and Hermeneutical Objectivity,” The
Master’s Seminary Journal 13/1 (Spring 2002): 70.
82
Ibid., 76.
136
Testament text according to its original, literal meaning.83 However, there are also cases
of nonliteral use of the Old Testament, such as Paul’s use of Habakkuk 2:4. Thomas
refers to these as “inspired sensus plenior applications” (ISPA). He explains, “It is
‘inspired,’ because along with all Scripture, the NT passage is inspired by God. It is
‘sensus plenior’ in that it gives an additional or fuller sense than the passage had in its
OT setting. It is an ‘application’ because it does not eradicate the literal meaning of the
OT passage, but simply applies the OT wording to a new setting.”84
The ISPA goes beyond the grammatical-historical meaning of the Old Testament
passage; therefore, the authority for this meaning is the New Testament citation, not the
Old Testament text.85 This is perfectly acceptable, since the New Testament authors
possessed the gift of apostleship or the gift of prophecy. Thomas admits that this use of
the Old Testament is similar to the “midrash pesher” exegesis of Qumran, but the
members of that community did not have the spiritual gifts to render their interpretations
authoritative.86
83
Robert L. Thomas, Evangelical Hermeneutics: The New Versus the Old (Grand
Rapids, Mich.: Kregel, 2002), 243–46.
84
Robert L. Thomas, “The New Testament Use of the Old Testament,” The
Master’s Seminary Journal 13/1 (Spring 2002): 80. In a personal conversation on January
23, 2008, Thomas said he believes that both the New Testament author and the original
readers recognized the presense of ISPA. Both the author and the readers knew (or could
have known) the original meaning of the Old Testament passage through proper exegesis.
When the New Testament author used the same words with a different meaning, he did
not intend to set aside the original meaning. He would have recognized that God was
revealing another divine intention for those words.
85
Ibid., 86.
86
Ibid., 87.
137
Thomas anticipates the objection that the ISPA violates the single-meaning
principle. He responds, “That the passage has two meanings is obvious, but only one of
those meanings derives from a grammatical-historical interpretation of the OT itself. The
other comes from a grammatical-historical analysis of the NT passage that cites it. The
authority for the second meaning of the OT passage is not the OT; it is the NT.” It is
obvious that God always knew of both meanings, “but until the NT citation of that
passage, the second or sensus plenior meaning did not exist as far as humans were
concerned. Since hermeneutics is a human discipline, gleaning that second sense is an
impossibility in an examination of the OT source of the citation.”87 There is one
grammatical-historical meaning of the Old Testament text, and there is one grammaticalhistorical meaning of the New Testament text. If these meanings differ, then God has
revealed in the New Testament additional information about His intention for the Old
Testament passage.
Why would God inspire a text that appears to misuse the Old Testament? Thomas
suggests a possible reason for ISPA citations:
In almost if not every instance, the new meaning given an OT passage related to
Israel’s rejection of her Messiah at His first advent and the consequent opening of
the door to a new people, the Gentiles, for God to bless (see Romans 9–11). The
new people consisted of both Jews and Gentiles as fellow members of the body of
Christ. That such a new union would exist was unrevealed in the OT, as Paul
points out in Eph 3:1–7. New meanings through special divine revelation were
necessary to give this new program a connection with what God had been doing
throughout the OT period.88
87
88
Ibid.
Ibid., 87–88. This may not be the only (or even primary) reason for ISPA
citations. This issue requires further research.
138
If the Old Testament author was aware that his text applied to the church, he would have
to know about the church. In that case, the church would not have been a mystery. Thus,
ISPA becomes a necessary technique for God to carry out His plan.
Conclusion
When Paul used Habakkuk 2:4 in Romans 1:17 and Galatians 3:11, he went
beyond the grammatical-historical meaning of Habakkuk. When God told the prophet,
hy<xy. I Atn“Wma/B, qyDIcw; ,> He intended one meaning that applied to Habakkuk’s situation.
However, when Paul wrote, oJ divkaio" ejk pivstew" zhvsetai, God intended a different
meaning. The authority for the first meaning is based on the inspiration of Habakkuk. The
authority for the second meaning is based on the inspiration of Romans and Galatians.
God’s full intention for Habakkuk 2:4 became clear to men only after Paul “moved by the
Holy Spirit spoke from God” (2 Pet 1:21). Such a nonliteral use of the Old Testament by
the New Testament has been called an “inspired sensus plenior application.” This ISPA
theory can be established only by careful exegesis of every New Testament passage that
quotes the Old Testament and careful exegesis of the corresponding Old Testament text
(independent of one’s conclusions regarding the corresponding New Testament passage).
This thesis has investigated only Paul’s use of Habakkuk 2:4 in Romans and Galatians.
For these verses, ISPA appears to be the best explanation. By God’s grace, this
understanding will result in greater honor for His Word and greater glory for His Person.
CHAPTER SIX
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS
The introductory chapter argues for the need to investigate every New Testament
use of the Old Testament on a case-by-case basis. Such as investigation has been
conducted for Paul’s use of Habakkuk 2:4b in Romans 1:17 and Galatians 3:11. The
exegetical results will now be summarized, and the hermeneutical conclusions will be
reviewed.
Summary of Exegesis
A variety of conflicting interpretations have been offered for the three verses
under consideration. The preferred interpretation of each verse will be recapitulated
below.
Habakkuk
A number of suggested textual emendations were considered, but the Masoretic
Text of Habakkuk 2:4 was ultimately accepted. The first half of the verse speaks of the
Chaldeans, who were puffed up with pride and not morally upright. These ungodly
Chaldeans would invade Judah, as God predicted in 1:5–11. However, they would not
escape God’s judgment (2:6–20). In the midst of this discussion of the Chaldeans, God
inserts a message of hope for His people: “The righteous one will live by his faithfulness”
(2:4b; writer’s translation). The righteous were those Jews who demonstrated their faith
140
in Yahweh by obeying His Law (cf. 1:4). If these righteous Israelites remained faithful
toward God and His Word in the midst of the Chaldean invasion, then God would ensure
their survival during the invasion.
Romans
Paul states the theme of his letter to the Romans in 1:16–17. This letter, indeed
Paul’s whole Christian life, focused on the gospel. Only in the gospel does the repentant
sinner find God’s saving power at work to redeem Jew and Gentile, for only in the gospel
does God offer imputed righteousness to those who have no righteousness of their own.
Only the gospel offers a forensic pronouncement of “not guilty” to those who are guilty
by nature and by choice. God reveals this imputed righteousness to those who have faith
in Him, and they apprehend this righteousness in the gospel by faith.
In support of his argument, Paul quotes Habakkuk 2:4b. According to Paul,
Scripture testifies that the one whom God reckons as righteous would live by faith. Paul’s
quotation is more than a mere proof text. The theme of Habakkuk is the vindication of
God’s righteousness in light of the fact that He is going to use the wicked Chaldeans to
execute His judgment on Israel. Paul deals with a similar issue when he vindicates God’s
election of Gentiles while many Jews fail to believe in the Messiah (Rom 9–11). This
apparent reversal of God’s dealing with Jews and Gentiles was a direct result of the
gospel message of justification by faith, the message that Paul explains in Romans 1–5.
This exposition begins with a contrast between the righteous and the wicked (1:17–18),
the same contrast found in Habakkuk 2:4.
141
Galatians
In Galatians 3:10–14, Paul argues that those who try to be righteous before God
by obeying the Law (i.e., legalists) are cursed, while those who accept righteousness from
God by faith are blessed. Paul’s condemnation of the legalists is based on the very Law
on which they depend. Deuteronomy 27:26 implies that anyone who fails to keep the
Law completely is cursed. Paul assumes (although he does not state it) that no one is able
to obey the Law perfectly. Thus, anyone who depends solely on the Law misses the
blessings of faith and ends up cursed.
To complete his argument, Paul must show that depending on the Law is
incompatible with faith; in other words, one cannot be a legalist and a man of faith. To do
this, Paul juxtaposes two Old Testament texts: Habakkuk 2:4 and Leviticus 18:5. Paul
uses the Habakkuk quotation in the sense “the righteous will live by faith,” with the
implication, in this context, that one’s righteous status was based on faith to begin with.
The point Paul is making is that Habakkuk’s words associate righteousness and faith, not
righteousness and the Law. Paul finishes the argument by showing that Law and faith are
incompatible. Leviticus 18:5 shows that living by means of the Law is based on “doing,”
not on believing. Of course, faith does not exclude obedience, but faith does exclude
obedience as a means of justification. Paul’s use of Habakkuk here is an important piece
of his larger argument for justification by faith alone.
Conclusions
The meaning that Paul ascribes to Habakkuk 2:4 does not contradict the prophet’s
original intention, but Paul’s intended meaning goes beyond the grammatical-historical
142
interpretation of Habakkuk. The righteousness Paul refers to is not the same as that which
Habakkuk refers to. The faith that Paul commends is not equivalent to the faithfulness
that God calls for in Habakkuk. And the life that Paul promises differs from the life
offered in Habakkuk. How should one deal with these apparent discrepancies
hermeneutically?
Insufficient Explanations for Paul’s Use of Habakkuk 2:4
The Full Human Intent School argues that Habakkuk must have been aware of the
full range of meaning that the apostle Paul would give to his prophecy. This school fails
to account adequately for the exegetical data. There is nothing in the context of
Habakkuk to indicate that Habakkuk understood God’s saying in 2:4 to mean what Paul
would later claim that it means.
The Divine Intent–Human Words School includes sensus plenior and references
plenior approaches. These approaches acknowledge that God may have intended more
than the human author, although God’s intention is always an extension of the human
author’s intention. However, Paul’s use of Habakkuk seems to be more than simply an
extension of meaning, especially when one considers the difference between
“faithfulness” in Habakkuk and “faith” in Romans and Galatians.
The Historical Progress of Revelation and Jewish Hermeneutic School sees
parallels between Paul’s use of the Old Testament and contemporary Jewish exegetical
practices, such as midrash and pesher. However, this approach does not consider the
unique position of Paul as an author of inspired epistles. At best, this school may provide
143
a hint as to how God providentially revealed His additional intended meaning for
Habakkuk’s words to Paul. At worst, this school makes hermeneutics culturally relative.
The Canonical Approach and New Testament Priority School assumes that the
New Testament explains the meaning of the Old Testament. According to this view, the
meaning Paul assigns to Habakkuk 2:4 is what Habakkuk 2:4 means, regardless of the
grammar and historical background of Habakkuk. Such an approach undermines the
authority of the Old Testament by denying its clarity. The grammatical-historical
interpretation of Habakkuk is independent of Paul’s use of it; to claim otherwise would
imply that Habakkuk was incomprehensible to his original audience.
Finally, some hold an eclectic combination of the preceding views. However,
such an approach merely claims all the advantages of the other schools without dealing
with their disadvantages. The eclectic approach, like the others considered so far, is not
sufficient to deal with Paul’s use of Habakkuk 2:4.
Preferred Explanation for Paul’s Use of Habakkuk 2:4
The authors of the New Testament were able to write inspired Scripture because
they had the gifts of apostleship or prophecy. Since modern interpreters do not possess
these gifts, they should not seek to reproduce the hermeneutics of the New Testament
authors when these authors use an Old Testament text in a nonliteral way. If the modern
exegete recognizes these facts, he will not make false theological or philosophical
assumptions about how the New Testament authors “must have” used the Old Testament.
Paul’s use of Habakkuk 2:4 is an example of a nonliteral use of the Old
Testament. The best explanation available to date for this is the concept of inspired
144
sensus plenior application (ISPA). When Paul wrote the inspired epistles of Romans and
Galatians, he accurately communicated (part of) the divine intention for Habakkuk 2:4b.
Paul gave an additional or fuller sense than Habakkuk 2:4 has in its Old Testament
context. Moreover, Paul uses Habakkuk’s words without negating the original meaning
intended by Habakkuk. When God spoke the words recorded in Habakkuk 2:4b, He
intended two meanings. One of these meanings is available via a grammatical-historical
examination of the verse in its original context. The second meaning is available via a
grammatical-historical examination of the verse in the context of Romans or Galatians.
The authority for the second meaning comes from the New Testament, not the Old
Testament.
The ISPA approach honestly appraises the meaning of Habakkuk 2:4, Romans
1:17, and Galatians 3:11 in their respective contexts. This approach does not demand that
these passages say exactly the same thing. This approach accepts the grammaticalhistorical interpretation of Habakkuk 2:4 as divine revelation. This approach also accepts
the grammatical-historical interpretation of Romans 1:17 and Galatians 3:11 as additional
divine revelation using the words of Habakkuk. The ISPA approach refuses to read the
New Testament into the Old Testament, or vice versa. Therefore, this approach upholds
the hermeneutical principles behind grammatical-historical exegesis, without which one
cannot hope to interpret the Word of God accurately.
BIBLIOGRAPHY
Andersen, Francis I. Habakkuk: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary.
Anchor Bible. New York: Doubleday, 2001.
Armerding, Carl E. “Habakkuk.” In The Expositor’s Bible Commentary. 12 vols., edited
by Frank E. Gaebelein, 7:491–534. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1976–92.
Barr, James. The Semantics of Biblical Language. Oxford, Eng.: Oxford University Press,
1961.
Barrett, C. K. The Epistle to the Romans. Rev. ed. Black’s New Testament Commentary.
London: A & C Black, 1991.
Barrick, William D. “Ezekiel 33:12–19 and Eternal Security.” Unpublished paper
presented to the Evangelical Theological Society Far West Region Annual
Meeting, The Master’s Seminary, Sun Valley, Calif., April 20, 2007.
Beale, G. K. “Did Jesus and His Followers Preach the Right Doctrine from the Wrong
Texts? An Examination of the Presuppositions of Jesus’ and the Apostles’
Exegetical Method.” In The Right Doctrine from the Wrong Texts? Essays on the
Use of the Old Testament in the New, edited by G. K. Beale, 387–404. Grand
Rapids, Mich.: Baker, 1994.
Beale, G. K., and D. A. Carson, eds. Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old
Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2007.
Betz, Hans Dieter. Galatians: A Commentary on Paul’s Letter to the Churches of
Galatia. Hermeneia. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1979.
Bock, Darrell L. “Evangelicals and the Use of the Old Testament in the New, Part 1.”
Bibliotheca Sacra 142/567 (July 1985): 209–20.
———. “Evangelicals and the Use of the Old Testament in the New, Part 2.” Bibliotheca
Sacra 142/568 (October 1985): 306–16.
———. “Scripture Citing Scripture: Use of the Old Testament in the New.” In
Interpreting the New Testament Text: Introduction to the Art and Science of
Exegesis, edited by Darrell L. Bock and Buist M. Fanning, 255–76. Wheaton, Ill.:
Crossway, 2006.
146
Botterweck, G. Johannes, Helmer Ringgren, and Heinz-Josef Fabry, eds. Theological
Dictionary of the Old Testament. 15 vols. Translated by John T. Willis et al.
Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1974–2006.
Braswell, Joseph P. “‘The Blessing of Abraham’ Versus ‘The Curse of the Law’: Another
Look at Gal 3:10–13.” Westminster Theological Journal 53/1 (Spring 1991): 73–
91.
Brownlee, William H. The Midrash Pesher of Habakkuk. Society of Biblical Literature
Monograph Series 24. Missoula, Mont.: Scholars Press, 1979.
———. “The Placarded Revelation of Habakkuk.” Journal of Biblical Literature 82
(1963): 319–25.
———. The Text of Habakkuk in the Ancient Commentary from Qumran. Journal of
Biblical Literature Monograph Series 11. Philadelphia: Society of Biblical
Literature and Exegesis, 1959.
Bruce, F. F. The Epistle to the Galatians: A Commentary on the Greek Text. New
International Greek Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans,
1983.
Burton, Ernest De Witt. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistle to the
Galatians. International Critical Commentary. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1921.
Campbell, Douglas A. “Romans 1:17—A Crux Interpretum for the PISTIS CRISTOU
Debate.” Journal of Biblical Literature 113/2 (Summer 1994): 265–85.
Cavallin, H. C. C. “‘The Righteous Shall Live by Faith,’ A Decisive Argument for the
Traditional Interpretation.” Studia Theologica 32 (1978): 33–43.
Cosgrove, Charles H. “The Mosaic Law Preaches Faith: A Study in Galatians 3.”
Westminster Theological Journal 41/1 (Fall 1978): 146–64.
Cranfield, C. E. B. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans.
2 vols. International Critical Commentary. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1975–79.
Cranford, Michael. “The Possibility of Perfect Obedience: Paul and an Implied Premise
in Galatians 3:10 and 5:3.” Novum Testamentum 36/3 (July 1994): 242–58.
Das, Andrew A. Paul, the Law, and the Covenant. Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 2001.
147
Davies, G. N. Faith and Obedience in Romans: A Study in Romans 1–4. Journal for the
Study of the New Testament Supplement Series 39. Sheffield, Eng.: JSOT Press,
1990.
Dockery, David S. “The Use of Hab. 2:4 in Rom. 1:17: Some Hermeneutical and
Theological Considerations.” Wesleyan Theological Journal 22/2 (Fall 1987):
24–36.
Dunn, James D. G. Romans 1–8. Word Biblical Commentary. Dallas: Word Books, 1988.
———. The Epistle to the Galatians. Black’s New Testament Commentary. Peabody,
Mass.: Hendrickson, 1993.
Ellis, E. Earle. Paul’s Use of the Old Testament. Edinburgh, Scotland: Oliver and Boyd,
1957.
Emerton, J. A. “The Textual and Linguistic Problems of Habakkuk II. 4–5.” Journal of
Theological Studies, n.s., 28/1 (April 1977): 1–18.
Fitzmyer, Joseph A. “Habakkuk 2:3–4 and the New Testament.” In De la Tôrah au
Messie: Mélanges Henri Cazelles, edited by Joseph Doré, Pierre Grelot, and
Maurice Carrez. Paris: Desclée, 1981.
———. Romans: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary. Anchor Bible
33. New York: Doubleday, 1993.
———. “The Use of Explicit Old Testament Quotations in Qumran Literature and in the
New Testament.” New Testament Studies 7 (1960–61): 297–333.
Fuller, Daniel P. “Paul and ‘The Works of the Law.’” Westminster Theological Journal
38/1 (Fall 1975): 28–42.
Fung, Ronald Y. K. The Epistle to the Galatians. New International Commentary on the
New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1988.
Garlington, Don B. Faith, Obedience and Perseverance: Aspects of Paul’s Letter to the
Romans. Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 79. Tübingen,
Germ.: J. C. B. Mohr, 1994.
Gesenius, Friedrich Wilhelm. Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar. 2d ed. Edited and enlarged
by E. Kautzsch. Translated and revised by A. E. Cowley. Oxford, Eng.: Oxford
University Press, 1910.
148
Glombitza, Otto. “Von der Scham des Gläubigen: Erwägungen zu Rom. I 14–17.” Novum
Testamentum 4 (1960): 74–80.
Godet, F. Commentary on St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans. 2 vols. Translated by A.
Cusin. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, n.d.
Gombis, Timothy G. “The Curse of the Law in Galatians 3:10–14.” Th.M. thesis, The
Master’s Seminary, 2000.
———. “The ‘Transgressor’ and the ‘Curse of the Law’: The Logic of Paul’s Argument
in Galatians 2–3.” New Testament Studies 53/1 (January 2007): 81–93.
Gowan, Donald E. The Triumph of Faith in Habakkuk. Atlanta: John Knox, 1976.
Haak, Robert D. Habakkuk. Supplements to Vetus Testamentum 44. Leiden, Neth.: E. J.
Brill, 1992.
Hays, Richard B. The Faith of Jesus Christ: The Narrative Substructure of Galatians
3:1–4:11. 2d ed. Biblical Resource Series. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans;
Dearborn, Mich.: Dove Booksellers, 2002.
Hendriksen, William. Exposition of Paul’s Epistle to the Romans. New Testament
Commentary. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker, 1981.
Hill, David. “Salvation Proclaimed: IV. Galatians 310–14: Freedom and Acceptance.”
Expository Times 93/7 (April 1982): 196–200.
Janzen, J. Gerald. “Habakkuk 2:2–4 in the Light of Recent Philological Advances.”
Harvard Theological Review 73/1–2 (January–April 1980): 53–78.
Johnson, Elliott E. “Author’s Intention and Biblical Interpretation.” In Hermeneutics,
Inerrancy and the Bible, edited by Earl D. Radmacher and Robert D. Preus,
407–29. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1984.
Johnson, S. Lewis Jr. “The Gospel That Paul Preached.” Bibliotheca Sacra 128/512
(October 1971): 327–340.
———. The Old Testament in the New: An Argument for Biblical Inspiration. Grand
Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1980.
Joüon, Paul. A Grammar of Biblical Hebrew. 2 vols. Subsidia Biblica 14. Translated and
revised by T. Muraoka. Rome: Pontifical Biblical Institute, 1991.
149
Kaiser, Walter C. Jr. “A Response to Author’s Intention and Biblical Interpretation.” In
Hermeneutics, Inerrancy and the Bible, edited by Earl D. Radmacher and Robert
D. Preus, 439–47. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1984.
———. Toward an Old Testament Theology. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1978.
———. The Uses of the Old Testament in the New. Chicago: Moody Press, 1985.
Keil, C. F., and F. Delitzsch. Commentary on the Old Testament. 10 vols. Edinburgh: T.
& T. Clark, 1866–91. Reprint, Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 1996.
Kittel, Gerhard, and Gerhard Friedrich, eds. Theological Dictionary of the New
Testament. 10 vols. Translated and edited by Geoffrey William Bromiley. Grand
Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1964–76.
Koehler, Ludwig, and Walter Baumgartner et al., eds. The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon
of the Old Testament. 5 vols. Leiden, Neth.: E. J. Brill, 1994–2000.
Ladd, George Eldon. “Righteousness in Romans.” Southwestern Journal of Theology
19/1 (Fall 1976): 6–17.
Lambrecht, Jan. “Curse and Blessing: A Study of Galatians 3,10–14.” In Pauline Studies:
Collected Essays, 271–98. Bibliotheca Ephemeridum Theologicarum Lov
Aniensium 115. Leuven, Belg.: Leuven University Press, 1994.
LaSor, William Sanford. “The Sensus Plenior and Biblical Interpretation.” In Scripture,
Tradition and Interpretation: Essays Presented to Everett F. Harrison by His
Students and Colleagues in Honor of His Seventy-fifth Birthday, edited by W.
Ward Gasque and William Sanford LaSor, 260–77. Grand Rapids, Mich.:
Eerdmans, 1978.
Longenecker, Richard N. Galatians. Word Biblical Commentary. Dallas: Word, 1990.
———. Biblical Exegesis in the Apostolic Period. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans,
1975.
Martin, Robert P. “‘The Just Shall Live by Faith’: Habakkuk 2:4 in Romans 1:16–17.”
Reformed Baptist Theological Review 3/2 (Fall 2006): 3–26.
Martyn, J. Louis. Galatians. Anchor Bible. New York: Doubleday, 1997.
Moo, Douglas J. “‘Law,’ ‘Works of the Law,’ and Legalism in Paul.” Westminster
Theological Journal 45/1 (Spring 1983): 73–100.
150
———. The Epistle to the Romans. New International Commentary on the New
Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1996.
———. “The Problem of ‘Sensus Plenior.’” In Hermeneutics, Authority and Canon,
edited by D. A. Carson and John D. Woodbridge, 179–211. Grand Rapids, Mich.:
Zondervan, 1986.
Moody, R. M. “The Habakkuk Quotation in Romans 117.” Expository Times 92/7 (April
1981): 205–8.
Morris, Leon. The Epistle to the Romans. Pillar New Testament Commentary. Grand
Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1988.
Murray, John. The Epistle to the Romans. 2 vols. New International Commentary on the
New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1959. Reprinted in 1 vol.,
Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1968.
Neufeld, Waldemar N. “An Exegetical and Theological Study of Habakkuk 2:4–5.”
Th.M. thesis, Dallas Theological Seminary, 1990. Text-fiche.
Nygren, Anders. Commentary on Romans. Translated by Carl C. Rasmussen.
Philadelphia: Muhlenberg Press, 1949.
Oss, Douglas A. “Canon as Context: The Function of Sensus Plenior in Evangelical
Hermeneutics.” Grace Theological Journal 9/1 (Spring 1988): 105–27.
Packer, J. I. “Biblical Authority, Hermeneutics and Inerrancy.” In Jerusalem and Athens:
Critical Discussions on the Philosophy and Apologetics of Cornelius Van Til,
edited by E. R. Geehan, 141–53. Phillipsburg, New Jersey: Presbyterian and
Reformed Publishing Co., 1971.
Patterson, Richard D. Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah. Wycliffe Exegetical Commentary.
Chicago: Moody Press, 1991.
Payne, Philip B. “The Fallacy of Equating Meaning with the Human Author’s Intention.”
Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 20/3 (September 1977): 243–52.
Quarles, Charles L. “From Faith to Faith: A Fresh Examination of the Prepositional
Series in Romans 1:17.” Novum Testamentum 45/1 (2003): 1–21.
Rast, Walter E. “Habakkuk and Justification by Faith.” Currents in Theology and Mission
10/3 (June 1983): 169–75.
151
Riggs, Jack R. “The ‘Fuller Meaning’ of Scripture: A Hermeneutical Question for
Evangelicals.” Grace Theological Journal 7 (Fall 1986): 213–27.
Roberts, J. J. M. Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah: A Commentary. Old Testament
Library. Louisville, Ky.: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1991.
Robertson, A. T. A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical
Research. 4th ed. Nashville: Broadman Press, 1934.
Robertson, O. Palmer. The Books of Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah. New
International Commentary on the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich.:
Eerdmans, 1990.
Sanday, William, and Arthur C. Headlam. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the
Epistle to the Romans. 5th ed. International Critical Commentary. Edinburgh: T. &
T. Clark, 1902.
Sanders, E. P. Paul, the Law, and the Jewish People. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1983.
Sanders, James A. “Habakkuk in Qumran, Paul, and the Old Testament.” In Paul and the
Scriptures of Israel, edited by Craig A. Evans and James A. Sanders, 98–117.
Journal for the Study of the New Testament Supplement Series 83. Sheffield,
Eng.: JSOT Press, 1993.
Schreiner, Thomas R. “Is Perfect Obedience to the Law Possible? A Re-Examination of
Galatians 3:10.” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 27/2 (June 1984):
151–60.
———. “Paul and Perfect Obedience to the Law: An Evaluation of the View of E. P.
Sanders.” Westminster Theological Journal 47/2 (Fall 1985): 245–78.
———. Romans. Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids,
Mich.: Baker, 1998.
Scott, James M. “A New Approach to Habakkuk II 4–5A.” Vetus Testamentum 35/3 (July
1985): 330–40.
———. “‘For As Many As Are of Works of the Law Are under a Curse’ (Galatians
3.10).” In Paul and the Scriptures of Israel, edited by Craig A. Evans and James
A. Sanders, 187–221. Journal for the Study of the New Testament Supplement
Series 83. Sheffield, Eng.: JSOT Press, 1993.
152
Seifrid, Mark A. Justification by Faith: The Origin and Development of a Central
Pauline Theme. Supplements to Novum Testamentum 68. Leiden, Neth.: E. J.
Brill, 1992.
Silva, Moisés. “Abraham, Faith, and Works: Paul’s Use of Scripture in Galatians 3:6–
14.” Westminster Theological Journal 63/2 (Fall 2001): 251–67.
———. “Galatians.” In Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament,
edited by G. K. Beale and D. A. Carson, 785–812. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker
Academic, 2007.
Smith, D. Moody, Jr. “O DE DIKAIOS EK PISTEWS ZHSETAI.” In Studies and
Documents XXIX: Studies in the History and Text of the New Testament in Honor
of K. W. Clark, edited by Boyd L. Daniels and M. Jack Suggs, 13–25. Salt Lake
City, Utah: University of Utah Press, 1967.
Smith, Ralph L. Micah–Malachi. Word Biblical Commentary. Waco, Tex.: Word, 1984.
Southwell, P. J. M. “A Note on Habakkuk ii.4.” Journal of Theological Studies, n.s., 19/2
(October 1968): 614–17.
Spender, Robert. “Grow Your Faith with Habakkuk.” Emmaus Journal 11/1 (Summer
2002): 51–78.
Stanley, Christopher D. “‘Under a Curse’: A Fresh Reading of Galatians 3. 10–14.” New
Testament Studies 36/4 (October 1990): 481–511.
Swanson, Scott A. “Can We Reproduce the Exegesis of the New Testament? Why Are
We Still Asking?” Trinity Journal 17/1 (1996): 67–76.
Sweeney, Marvin A. “Structure, Genre, and Intent in the Book of Habakkuk.” Vetus
Testamentum 41/1 (January 1991): 63–83.
Széles, Mária Eszenyei. Wrath and Mercy: A Commentary on the Books of Habakkuk and
Zephaniah. Translated by George A. F. Knight. International Theological
Commentary. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1987.
Thomas, Robert L. Evangelical Hermeneutics: The New Versus the Old. Grand Rapids,
Mich.: Kregel, 2002.
———. “The New Testament Use of the Old Testament.” The Master’s Seminary
Journal 13/1 (Spring 2002): 79–98.
153
Van Daalen, D. H. “The Revelation of God’s Righteousness in Romans 1:17.” In Studia
Biblica 1978. Vol. 3, Papers on Paul and Other New Testament Authors, edited
by E. A. Livingstone, 383–89. Journal for the Study of the New Testament
Supplement Series 3. Sheffield, Eng.: JSOT Press, 1980.
VanGemeren, Willem A., ed. New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology
and Exegesis. 5 vols. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1997.
Wallis, Wilber B. “The Translation of Romans 1:17: A Basic Motif in Paulinism.”
Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 16/1 (Winter 1973): 17–23.
Waltke, Bruce K. “A Canonical Process Approach to the Psalms.” In Tradition and
Testament: Essays in Honor of Charles Lee Feinberg, edited by John S. Feinberg
and Paul D. Feinberg, 3–18. Chicago: Moody Press, 1981.
Waltke, Bruce K., and M. O’Connor. An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax. Winona
Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 1990.
Walton, John H. “Inspired Subjectivity and Hermeneutical Objectivity.” The Master’s
Seminary Journal 13/1 (Spring 2002): 65–77.
Warfield, Benjamin Breckinridge. “Faith.” In Biblical and Theological Studies, edited by
Samuel G. Craig, 404–44. Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed Pub. Co.,
1952.
Watson, Francis. Paul and the Hermeneutics of Faith. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 2004.
Watts, Rikki E. “‘For I Am Not Ashamed of the Gospel’: Romans 1:16–17 and
Habakkuk 2:4.” In Romans and the People of God: Essays in Honor of Gordon D.
Fee on the Occasion of His 65th Birthday, edited by Sven K. Soderlund and N. T.
Wright, 3–25. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1999.
Wendland, Ernst. “‘The Righteous Live by Their Faith’ in a Holy God: Complementary
Compositional Forces and Habakkuk’s Dialogue with the Lord.” Journal of the
Evangelical Theological Society 42/4 (December 1999): 591–628.
Williams, Sam K. “The ‘Righteousness of God’ in Romans.” Journal of Biblical
Literature 99/2 (June 1980): 241–90.
Woude, A. S. van der. “Der Gerecht wird durch seine Treue leben: Erwa>gungen zu
Habakuk 2:4–5.” In Studia Biblica et Semitica: Theodore Christiano Vriezen
dedicate, edited by W. C. van Unnik and A. S. van der Woude, 367–75.
Wageningen, Neth.: H. Veenman en Zonen, 1966.
154
———. “Habakuk 2 4.” Zeitschrift für die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 82 (1970):
281–82.
Young, Norman H. “Who’s Cursed—And Why? (Galatians 3:10–14).” Journal of
Biblical Literature 117/1 (Spring 1998): 79–92.
Zemek, George J. “Interpretive Challenges Relating to Habakkuk 2:4b.” Grace
Theological Journal 1/1 (Spring 1980): 43–69.
Scarica
Random flashcards
CRANIO

2 Carte oauth2_google_d7270607-b7ab-4128-8f55-c54db3df9ba1

CIAO

2 Carte oauth2_google_78a5e90c-1db5-4c66-ac49-80a9ce213cb9

il condizionale

2 Carte oauth2_google_2e587b98-d636-4423-a451-84f012b884f0

economia

2 Carte oauth2_google_89e9ca76-2f16-41bf-8eae-db925cb2be4b

123

2 Carte

creare flashcard