April 27, 2010

Faith in Jesus Christ or the the Faith/Faithfulness of Jesus Christ

Lately, I have been doing some reading in the NET bible. Yesterday, I was reading in Romans 3:21-26 as I was reading expositions of that same passage by Daniel B. Wallace [What Does it Mean to be Justified? A Brief exposition of Romans 3:21-26 ( Part 1 | Part 2)] and D. A. Carson [ Atonement in Romans 3:21-26]. As I was reading the passage, I noticed an interesting translational choice that the NET makes:

ESV

NET

21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ2324 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 2526 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, for all who believe. For there is no distinction: whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.

21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God (which is attested by the law and the prophets) has been disclosed - 22 namely, the righteousness of God through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. 2425 God publicly displayed him at his death as the mercy seat accessible through faith. This was to demonstrate his righteousness, because God in his forbearance had passed over the sins previously committed. 26Jesus' faithfulness. But they are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. This was also to demonstrate his righteousness in the present time, so that he would be just and the justifier of the one who lives because of



Today, while I was reading in Galatians 2, I noticed the same thing in verse 16:

ESV

NET

16 yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.

16 yet we know that no one is justified by the works of the law but by the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. And we have come to believe in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by the faithfulness of Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.




Do you see the difference? In the ESV (and most other English translations) it reads faith in Jesus Christ, while in the NET it reads the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. Both are a rendering of the same Greek phrase – πίστεως Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ( pisteōs Iēsou Christou) . The difference is that the ESV (and most other English translations) takes this as objective genitive and the NET takes the genitive as subjective. In layman's terms, the traditional interpretation of this passage takes Jesus as the object of faith (i.e. faith in Christ), while the other means that Jesus is the subject of faith (i.e. Jesus' faith/faithfulness).

My question, for those of you that are knowledgeable about such things, is what do you think? What do you take it as and why?