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The Messianic Use of Habbakuk 2:4a in Romans

Walter Zorn
Professor of Old Testament and Biblical Language
Lincoln Christian College and Seminary 

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Paul quotes Habakkuk 2:4a in Romans 1:17 as a “thematic” Scripture
passage for Romans. He uses this passage “messianically,” the “righteous
One” primarily referring to the Messiah who came and lived faithfully
to God, giving his life as an atonement for the sins of the world. This
understanding of Habakkuk 2:4a (LXX) in Romans 1:17 requires a
new reading of Romans, particularly Romans 1–5. A detailed look at
Romans 1:17 and 3:21-26 suggests the necessity of a subjective genitive
interpretation for the pivsti" Cristou' (pistis christou, “faith of Christ”)
phrases, including that same nuance for a number of other references
where the catch-phrase ejk pivstew" (ek pisteo¯s, “from faith”) is found in
Romans. Since Jesus is the only “righteous One” in a world of sinners
where “none are righteous” (Rom 3:10), he is able to make believers
“righteous” by virtue of his obedient faith (Rom 5:18-19).

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Volume 26 Issue 1

Current Issue:
VOLUME 26, No. 1
Spring 2023



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