[B-Greek] DIKAIOSUNH in Peter (was: the best Metalanguage to understand the Greek NT?(was "2 Peter 1:1"))

Iver Larsen iver_larsen at sil.org
Fri Apr 23 13:56:00 EDT 2010


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Yancy Smith" <yancywsmith at sbcglobal.net>
To: "'B-Greek'" <b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: 23. april 2010 17:16
...
>  I note that the UBS Handbook gives the following discussion on this phrase: 
> But what does righteousness mean here? This word is one of those biblical 
> terms that are rich in meaning and can be translated in various ways, 
> depending on their context. For example, the expression “the righteousness of 
> God” appears in different contexts with different meanings and emphases. In 
> Rom 1.17 the righteousness of God refers to God's activity of putting people 
> into a right relationship with himself (as TEV correctly translates). In Matt 
> 6.33, however, the righteousness of God refers to what he requires people to 
> do in order that they will be pleasing to him. In the present verse 
> righteousness has been interpreted in the following ways:
> 1. It refers to Christ's righteous, redemptive work. It is through Christ's 
> righteousness (that is, his dying on the cross) that Christians are given the 
> power to put their trust in him.
> 2. It refers to Christ's righteous character as Savior and Redeemer. It is 
> because of Christ's righteousness (that is, his sinlessness, holiness, 
> uprightness, goodness) that he is able to do his work as Savior and redeemer.
> 3. It refers to Christ's righteous sense of justice, generosity, fairness and 
> impartiality. This means that Christ is no respecter of persons; he plays no 
> favorites. When applied in the realm of faith, it means that Christ makes it 
> possible for anyone, Jew or Gentile, apostle or nonapostle, to have the same 
> faith.
> In the light of the context, and in the light of the usage of “righteousness” 
> in the rest of the letter, the second and third meanings seem to be the more 
> logical choices.
-----

But how is this word used in the rest of the letter? (And in 1 Peter):

1 Pe 2:24 ὃς τὰς ἁμαρτίας ἡμῶν αὐτὸς ἀνήνεγκεν ἐν τῷ σώματι αὐτοῦ ἐπὶ τὸ ξύλον, 
ἵνα ταῖς ἁμαρτίαις ἀπογενόμενοι τῇ δικαιοσύνῃ ζήσωμεν
hOS TAS hAMARTIAS hHMWN AUTOS ANHNEGKEN EN TWi SWMATI AUTOU EPI TO XULON hINA 
TAIS hAMARTIAS APOGENOMENOI THi DIKAIOSUNH ZHSWMEN

Jesus took our sins with him on the cross so that we could get away from a life 
in sin and live a righteous life.

1 Pe 3:14 ἀλλ᾽ εἰ καὶ πάσχοιτε διὰ δικαιοσύνην, μακάριοι
ALLA EI KAI PASCOITE DIA DIKAIOSUNHN, MAKARIOI

But if you were to suffer because of your righteous life, you are blessed

2 Pe 2:5 καὶ ἀρχαίου κόσμου οὐκ ἐφείσατο ἀλλὰ ὄγδοον Νῶε δικαιοσύνης κήρυκα 
ἐφύλαξεν κατακλυσμὸν κόσμῳ ἀσεβῶν ἐπάξας
KAI ARCAIOU KOSMOU OUK EFEISATO ALLA OGDOON NWE DIKAIOSUNHS KHRUKA EFULAXEN 
KATAKLUSMON KOSMWi ASEBWN EPAXAS
and he did not spare the old world, but by bringing a flood upon the world of 
ungodly people, he kept Noah, the eight man, safe as a testimony to what a 
righteous life can do

2 Pe 2:21 κρεῖττον γὰρ ἦν αὐτοῖς μὴ ἐπεγνωκέναι τὴν ὁδὸν τῆς δικαιοσύνης ἢ 
ἐπιγνοῦσιν ὑποστρέψαι ἐκ τῆς παραδοθείσης αὐτοῖς ἁγίας ἐντολῆς
KREITTON GAR HN AUTOIS MH EPEGNWKENAI THN hODON THS DIKAIOSUNHS H EPIGNOUSIN 
hUPOSTREYAI EK THS PARADOQEISHS AUTOIS hAGIAS ENTOLHS
It would have been better for them not to have come to know the way of righteous 
living/status than after having known it then to turn away from the holy 
commandment that was passed on to them

2 Pe 3:13 καινοὺς δὲ οὐρανοὺς καὶ γῆν καινὴν κατὰ τὸ ἐπάγγελμα αὐτοῦ 
προσδοκῶμεν, ἐν οἷς δικαιοσύνη κατοικεῖ
KAINOUS DE OURANOUS KAI GHN KAINHN KATA TO EPAGGELMA AUTOU PROSDOKWMEN EN hOIS 
DIKAIOSUNH KATOIKEI
But we are looking forward to new heavens and a new earth according to his 
promise in which (new world) righteous living prevails/dwells/is present 
(without any unrighteousness)

The UBS handbook suggests that DIKAIOSUNH QEOU in Rom 1:17 refers to God's way 
of putting people right with himself, and I agree to a certain extent although I 
would frame it differently. It is God and Jesus who is the source of that right 
relationship and the means by which it is obtained, not something that we can 
accomplish by our own efforts, so I take these genitives to refer to source. I 
am not saying that Peter and Paul have to use the word in the same sense, but if 
that same sense makes good sense in the context of the letter, one has to show 
that a difference sense may be intended, and I don't think you have done that.

I am sure we won't agree, and there is no consensus on this verse. I just wanted 
to point out all the other instances of the word in 1 and 2 Peter. I do not have 
time nor space to list all the instances in the NT.

Iver





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