Romans 1:17 

dikaiosunh  RIGHTEOUSNESS           gar FOR             qeou  OF GOD      

en IN            autw IT            apokaluptetai  IS REVEALED         ek  BY  pistewV  FAITH       

eiV  TO             pistin  FAITH;              kaqwV  ACCORDING AS      

gegraptai   IT HAS BEEN WRITTEN,         o  BUT            de THE         dikaioV  JUST         

ek   BY                    pistewV  FAITH                      zhsetai  SHALL LIVE.


 apokaluptetai  IS REVEALED

  • originally meant “uncover
  • this is the present passive of apokaluptw and means to reveal
  • Paul uses this to refer to eschatological events and God’s plan of redemption being revealed
  • This could refer to one of these two meanings for “is revealed”:

1)      Through the gospel knowledge is acquired concerning the righteousness of God. 

2)      This word is used by Paul and in Jewish writing as the uncovering or revealing of God’s plan of redemption

as it develops in history.  So the gospel makes manifest the righteousness of God. 
The result is that the righteousness of God itself is brought into existence.


Number 2 above is how Paul uses the word other places.

  • See 1:18, “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against al the godlessness and wickedness. . .”
    • Romans 1:18  apokaluptetai  THERE IS REVEALED      gar   FOR    orgh  WRATH         qeou  OF GOD    
       ap  FROM      ouranou  HEAVEN  epi  UPON        pasan  ALL        asebeian UNGODLINESS      
      AND   adikian   UNRIGHTEOUSNESS           anqrwpwn  OF MEN      twn  WHO   thn THE         
      TRUTH            en  IN         adikia  UNRIGHTEOUSNESS              katecontwn  HOLD
  • A related verse but a different word is used.   The perfect tense of the verb in Rm. 3:21 points to the time of the
    crucifixion where the event occurred.  In Rm. 1:17 the verb is in the present tense and sets our focus on the ongoing
    event and results that come from the preaching of the gospel. 
    • See 3:21, “But now a righteousness from God, apart from law has been made known, to which the
      Law and the Prophets testify.  This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe
    • Romans 3:21     nuni  BUT NOW       de  APART       cwriV  FROM          nomou  LAW  dikaiosunh  RIGHTEOUSNESS OF            qeou  GOD                             
       pefanerwtai  HAS BEEN MANIFESTED (perfect passive of fanerow – to make manifest, to make clear.  The perfect emphasizes the state of condition.)   

        marturoumenh  BEING BORNE WITNESS        upo BY          tou  THE            nomou LAW         kai AND      twn  THE            profhtwn  PROPHETS




“Righteousness of God”

This could mean:

a)      An attribute of God - “the righteous character which God is”

a.       God is faithful and does what is right

b.      This is especially true concerning Israel

b)      The status given by God “the righteous standing which  God gives”

a.       This was the way Luther viewed this.

b.      The new position the believer is placed in

c)      An action or work done by God - “the righteous activity which comes from God”

a.       This Greek word is often used in the Septuagint to refer to God intervenes in history for the well being of his people. 
These acts are called the righteous acts of God.


In a sense all three are true even at the same time in this verse.

Paul is probably using the third meaning and referring to a righteous activity done by God for the salvation of his people.

Micah 7:9

"Because I have sinned against him, I will bear the Lord's wrath, until he pleads my case and establishes my right. 
He will bring me out into the light; I will see his righteousness

Isaiah 46:13

"I am bringing my righteousness near, it is not far away; and my salvation will      
not be delayed.  I will grant salvation to Zion, my splendor to Israel


So, the "righteousness of God" is the saving work of God foretold by the prophets, accomplished on the cross and revealed
 every time the gospel is preached.


But, when this "righteousness of God" (his faithful work of saving his people) is revealed to us through the preaching of the gospel there is a
        reaction in our souls, in our minds, in our understanding.  God's righteous acts can not be revealed without there being a reaction. 
We then believe the message of God's righteous act of salvation.  We are said to have faith.  When we believe this message of God's
       righteous acts we then receive this righteousness of God.


On one hand the righteousness of God is an activity done by God.

            - Righteousness of God is a divine activity

On the other had the righteousness of God is a status given to believers

            - Righteousness of God is a status received as a gift


Righteousness of God

            A) A righteous act of salvation done by a righteous God


            B) Proclaiming, teaching, revealing the righteous act of God


            C) Believing the message about the righteous act of God that has been done


D) Receiving the status equal to the righteousness of God because you believed                                    
the message about God's righteous act of salvation


So this righteousness of God is both a divine activity and a human status that is        
         received by faith expressed by humans who hear and believe the message.


This concept is found even in the Old Testament

"Righteousness of God" is both an activity of God and a status of men

This is the process by which God has always brought people into right standing with himself.

He does something for them.  If they believe the announcement or the activity their relationship with God is forever changed.

                        1. First, positionally, by being justified before God

                        2. Second, morally, by being sanctified in themselves

            (Justification and Sanctification are two different things but are connected)


1)  Paul's OT readers would have understood this use of  "righteousness of God"

2)  It captures both the divine activity and the human response of salvation

3)  This helps us understand how Paul can use the term "righteous" in reference to

            humans.  It is because he is focusing on the end result of God's righteous acts.


Romans 3:24, "This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe."

Romans 1:16,  The gospel "is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes."



Romans 1:17

  • For, a righteousness of God, is therein revealed,--by faith unto faith: even as it is written--But, he that is righteous, by faith, shall live.” Rotherham's
  • For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "The just shall live by faith." NKJ
  • For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH." NAS
  • for righteousness of God is revealed therein, on the principle of faith, to faith: according as it is written, But the just shall live by faith” Darby
  • “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” KJ
  • “For in the Good News a righteousness which comes from God is being revealed, depending on faith and tending to produce faith; as the Scripture has it, ("The righteous man shall live by faith.") Weymouth
  • “For the righteousness of God in it is revealed from faith to faith, according as it hath been written, `And the righteous one by faith shall live.”  Young




"From faith to faith"

Some in the early church explained this as being "from faith in the law to faith in the gospel."

Augustine suggested it means from the faith of the preacher to the faith of the hearer.


Calvin taught that faith to faith referred to Christian growth.  As our faith grows we

            appreciate more and more of the righteousness of God

Barth said the first faith referred to God's faithfulness and the second to our response of faith

Some believe it is against Judiasm and means we begin by faith and we have faith.  We never begin by law and move towards works.

The safe interpretation is that our righteousness begins and ends with faith.  


The NIV seems to believe the Greek  "ek  BY      pistewV  FAITH       eiV  TO       pistin  FAITH"
is a rhetorical statement and means “by faith from first to last”


ek” could mean “out of” or "from".


Every aspect of salvations comes to us by faith: Justification, Sanctification, Glorification, Adoption, Redemption


"Habakkuk 2:4

Paul seems to explain "from faith to faith" with a quote form Habakkuk 2:4


Paul quotes,       "de THE             dikaioV  JUST                ek   BY                pistewV  FAITH               zhsetai  SHALL LIVE


Habakkukuk 2:4

"The righteous will live by his faith."  NIV

The just shall live by his faith.” KJ

The just shall live by his faith.”  NKJ

The righteous will live by his faith.” NAS

One who is righteous, by his faithfulness, shall live.” Rotherham


Paul’s quote is stressing, “He who is righteous by faith . . . will live.”

Or, to tie it in with the statement it is being used to explain “faith to faith” the quote from Habakkuk 2:4 is saying,

“He who is righteous by faith. . .will live his life by faith and be righteous.”


Genesis 15:6

"Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness."

            ("credited" means "reckon, esteem, account"

Galatians 3:6, "Consider Abraham: 'He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness."

Romans 4:3

James 2:20-23, "You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless. . .You see that            
his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 
And the scripture was fulfilled that says, 'Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.
". ..You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone