[B-Greek] 2 Peter 1:1

Iver Larsen iver_larsen at sil.org
Fri Apr 23 01:01:05 EDT 2010

----- Original Message ----- 
From: <yancywsmith at sbcglobal.net>
To: "greek B-Greek" <b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: 23. april 2010 06:26
Subject: Re: [B-Greek] 2 Peter 1:1

> George is, of course, right in framing ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ τοῦ θεοῦ EN DIKAIOSUNHi 
> TOU QEOU as, generally, divne beneficence. According to BDAG in this scenario 
> faith is described as something the believers "obtained" as a portion, 
> receive, obtain (by lot, or by divine will) as a privilege equitably allotted 
> by God. That is, the believers are beneficiaries and "faith" is one of several 
> virtues of grace granted by God along with promises of more (v. 3) virtues of 
> grace that lead to further virtues of grace that eventually lead to full 
> entrance into the kingdom of God (v.5-11). The kingdom of God seems analogous 
> to the promised land for Israel in the Exodus. The covenantal, Jewish scenario 
> of  Exodus provides more specificity to general divine beneficence suggested 
> by George by adding in which God, which people, etc. are the point of 
> comparison with believers in Jesus and their situation before God. In this 
> case it makes sense to take the genitive τοῦ θεοῦ as a subjective genitive, 
> picturing God as agent, and the ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ as the instrumentality or the 
> manner by which God grants what believers LACOUSIN λαχοῦσιν or obtain as a 
> portion.

It is natural to see a text like this through one's theological grid, because it 
contains two key theological words PISTIS (faith) and DIKAIOSUNH (uprightness).
In order to get a clearer understanding of DIKAIOSUNH, I recommend avoiding 
commentaries and preachers and instead studying the context in the 92 instances 
in the NT (and if time, the 351 instances in the LXX together with the Hebrew 
text).  You may start with the 6 instances in 1 and 2 Peter. Do not think of 
translating DIKAIOSUNH QEOU as "righteousness of God", because that is likely to 
lead you in the wrong direction before even starting the exegetical task.

One of the problems in modern Western theology is the focus on abstract 
philosophy, inspired by Greek thinkers. Both words have more to do with actions 
and relationships than abstract concepts. In the Bible, DIKAIOSUNH has to do 
with "right actions". The question then comes up: who decides what is right, God 
or the people themselves? Both of these concepts appear in the NT, especially in 
Romans 9 and 10, and they are often contrasted. Since the word normally refers 
to whether the actions of a person are right in the eyes of God, it also refers 
to a "right standing" or "right relationship" with God. Therefore the idea is 
close to "acceptance" by God. The contrast between the old and new covenant is 
concerned with how that right relationship is obtained.

It pays to take time to do your own study of how these words are used in the 
Greek text. After all, that is the benefit that comes from studying Greek.

Iver Larsen 

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