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In the wake of Tom Wright’s recent book on Justification and righteousness, the discussion has once more become vibrant and even volatile in some quarters.  One of the major things that actually seems lacking in these discussions is a consideration of whether the term righteousness might well have ethical nuances as well as theological ones.  One of our bright Asbury students,  Luke Post, has surveyed the use of the righteousness language in 2 Corinthians, with some surprising and helpful conclusions.   The post that follows is Luke’s essay, See what you think.

Ever since the “new perspective”
issued a challenge to Reformed theology, Paul’s dikaiosune language has
been at the center of a stormy debate. Though I am not naïve enough to think
that I can solve the debate in this essay, I do hope to demonstrate the truth
of one simple conclusion: when Paul speaks of righteousness in 2 Corinthians, ethical
behavior is never far from his mind. That is to say, in each of its seven
occurrences in 2 Corinthians dikaiosune
includes ethical behavior.[1]

that righteousness was primarily an ethical term both to Jews and Gentiles (see
below), I presuppose that one needs strong contextual evidence to rule the
ethical meaning out. Furthermore, I work from the assumption that Paul was not
a systematic theologian and that he was comfortable with a continuum of ideas
being present in one term. My thesis is an attempt to simplify Paul by
countering the tendency to read him through later systematic categories.

I will proceed by
a careful, though brief, analysis of the linguistic background. Then, I will
examine each of the seven occurrences of dikaiosune saving the controversial 5:21 for last. I can not possibly deal with every
significant exegetical issue while covering so much ground in an essay of this
length. Therefore, I will approach the text with a broader look at each
context, trying to get a feel for the direction of Paul’s thought, while paying
attention only to the most significant exegetical issues.


scholars emphasize that Paul’s understanding of righteousness is primarily
informed by Jewish thought.[2]
According to this thought, dikaiosune (saddiqa in the Hebrew Scriptures) is
primarily a relational term.[3]
When a person is righteous, they are in the right covenant relationship with God. God
is righteous because he is faithful to the covenant relationship that he has
established with his people.[4]

Paul clearly does begin with a Jewish understanding of righteousness, it seems
that most scholars have not fully appreciated the fact that he writes to largely
Greek audiences. Paul highlights his dikaiosune terminology
especially when he writes to the Romans whom he had never met. While some
scholars argue that this points to the pervasive acceptance of the Jewish
understanding of righteousness (even among Gentile churches), there is a much
simpler explanation available: Paul’s use of righteousness does not
fundamentally contradict the Greek understanding of righteousness.

So what would a
normal Greek citizen have understood by the term dikaiosune?
The lexical evidence unambiguously points to behavior that conforms to a moral
or legal norm.[5] As far
as I can tell, this is precisely the kind of behavior that is expected in the
Jewish covenants. Because they had entered into a covenant relationship with God,
they were responsible to behave as he commanded.[6]  Even commands that carry no obvious ethical
sense (e.g. cultic commands) become ethical when a person is under covenant
obligation to fulfill them. It is the simple ethics of keeping one’s

If there is no
fundamental conflict between relational and ethical righteousness, then Paul
could write to Gentile believers without ever having explained to them the
nuances of righteousness in the Hebrew Scriptures and still expect them to get
his point. They would recognize that being faithful to one’s promises is a form
of righteousness. The norm in this case arises from the covenant relationship,
but it is no less a norm.

In addition to the
covenantal context, the forensic context is also significant for the Jewish
understanding of righteousness. Though this forensic aspect has historically
received an undue amount of attention, it is clearly present in both Jewish and
Pauline usage.[7] When the
forensic nuance is present, a person’s righteousness is a status given or
pronounced by the court.

Though Protestant
scholars frequently set forensic righteousness in opposition to ethical
righteousness, there is no necessary disagreement between the two. In Jewish
thought, a person is pronounced righteous by the court because they are
actually in the right. They are not guilty of violating the ethical norm. While
it is true that certain contexts emphasize the standing of the “justified”
person, this meaning could never be totally detached from ethics in the Hebrew
mind. Right status has to do with right actions.[8]

Neither major
context for understanding righteousness in Jewish thought rules out an ethical
connotation. In fact, a moral norm is assumed in both relational (covenantal)
and forensic contexts. Thus we do not have to rule out an ethical understanding
even when Paul is emphasizing some other aspect of dikaiosune. As we will see, ethics is never far from Paul’s mind
in his second letter to the Corinthians.

3:9–“Ministry of Righteousness”

this letter, Paul is concerned to defend the nature of his apostolic ministry. As
part of his defense, he compares himself with those who bring “letters of
commendation” from other churches (3:1). Paul argues that he does not need such
letters since his ministry is authenticated by the power of the Spirit. Indeed,
the Corinthians themselves are a letter that recommends Paul since the Spirit
has performed his work on their hearts through Paul’s ministry (3:2-3). This
contrast between letter and Spirit merges into a contrast between the old and
new covenants. The “letter [of the old covenant] kills, but the Spirit gives
life” (3:6).

7-11 continue this argument by a series of three contrasts which point to the
greater glory of the new covenant. It is in this context that we first
encounter dikaiosu,nh in 2
Corinthians. Picking up on verse 6, Paul says that the “ministry of death” is
surpassed in glory by the “ministry of the Spirit” (vv 7-8). Then in verse 9 he
says the same thing but this time the terms are “ministry of condemnation” and
“ministry of righteousness.”[9]

the contrast with the forensic term, katakrisin
(condemnation) commentators decisively prefer a forensic meaning for
dikaiosune in this passage.[10] It
is clear that condemnation is a forensic term and that Paul probably has
forensic ideas in mind when he speaks of righteousness here. But is it
necessary to reduce dikaiosune to this meaning
altogether? There are several reasons for thinking that it is not.

as noted above, the forensic notion itself is usually tied up with ethics. The
person who was righteous before the law in ancient Judaism was the person who had
done the right thing (or had not done the wrong thing). The law “condemned”
people by sentencing them to death when they disobeyed it.[11]
Therefore, even if Paul means to emphasize the forensic nature of righteousness
here, he may not wish to distance it from ethical righteousness.

everything in the context seems to indicate that ethical righteousness is not
far from Paul’s mind. Paul is emphasizing that his ministry is authentic
because of the powerful, obvious work of the Spirit in human hearts. In the
same way that he parallels “death” with “condemnation,” so he parallels
“Spirit” with “righteousness.” The Spirit is the one who “gives life” (v. 6)
which repeatedly in Paul involves much more than “right-standing” with God.[12] Furthermore,
Paul is appealing to a concrete work of the Spirit among them which the
Corinthians had witnessed. Therefore, it is highly likely that when Paul
mentions the Spirit’s ministry, he is thinking of the heart-changing work that
sets sinners on the right path.

interpretation receives confirmation when we continue to follow the argument.
One must remember that the theme of glory is hovering over this entire passage.
After ending his series of contrasts in verse 11, Paul engages in some
interesting midrash regarding the veil on Moses’ face and the veil over Jewish
hearts (vv 12-16). Whatever the meaning of the details of this passage, Paul
arrives at a clear point in verse 16. It is in Christ that the veil is removed
and people can see clearly.

here again the Spirit shows up as the agent of enlightenment (v. 17).[13]
The Spirit takes away the veil from the human heart so that it can clearly
behold the glory of the Lord. As this
happens, “we are being transformed” into the image of Christ from “glory to glory” (v. 18). Now the
surpassing glory spoken of in the three contrasts of verses 7-11 is none other
than Christ-likeness, an ethical righteousness. The ministry of the Spirit
which came “with even more glory” is the ministry which makes people into the glorious
image of Jesus.

I am not arguing
that Paul must mean exactly the same thing by “ministry of the Spirit” and
“ministry of righteousness.” Indeed, it seems that righteousness in this
context calls to mind a forensic situation not overtly present in the parallel
phrase. What I am arguing is that we should not think of Paul as radically
shifting gears between such semantically and logically related statements.[14] The
close relationship between “death” and “condemnation” indicates that there
should also be a close relationship between “Spirit” and “righteousness.” To
make righteousness entirely forensic
destroys the parallel and, to some degree, detaches dikaiosune from its context.

 Furthermore, it is simply unnecessary to do
this with a term as rich and layered as dikaiosune.[15]
Given the frequent association of dikaiosune with
ethical behavior, it is at least plausible that, when it occurs in a highly
ethical context, we should not exclude all ethical content from its definition.
Rather than expecting the Corinthians to follow him as he moved subtly in and
out of systematic categories (from sanctification back to justification in this
case), it is more likely that Paul viewed dikaiosune as a term that could be loaded with multiple meanings at once.

 This interpretation finds a remarkable
parallel in Romans 8:1-4 where Paul explicitly rehearses the sentence of “no
condemnation.” But this sentence is only given to those “who do not walk according
to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (v. 4). The whole package of “sin and
death” is overturned by the “Spirit of life” (v. 2). It appears that part of
Paul’s answer to the problem of forensic condemnation involves the ethical work
of the Spirit.

it is important to consider what the Gentiles at Corinth were likely to think
when they listened to this text read aloud. Is it really likely that they would
hear Paul describing his ministry as one of dikaiosune
in a context that emphasizes the glorious transforming work of the
Spirit and think only of a forensic declaration? Though the contrast with
condemnation would certainly bring their right-standing to mind, there is no
good reason why we must limit dikaiosune to this meaning

11:15–“Ministers of Righteousness”

is appropriate at this point to skip forward to Paul’s final mention of dikaiosune since here again he uses ministry
terminology. This phrase occurs in the highly polemical chapters 10-13 where
Paul’s opponents are the “super-apostles” who are concerned to demonstrate
their superiority to Paul. These men, who are really “ministers of Satan” (v
15), present themselves as “ministers of righteousness.” This phrase is
parallel to the previous phrase, “apostles of Christ.”[16]
In other words, these opponents pretend to be what Paul really is.[17]

some scholars prefer a descriptive translation for the genitive (i.e. “good” or
“true” ministers),[18]
the parallel with “apostles of Christ” seems to indicate a more nuanced meaning
These are specific ways in which they seek to be like Paul who is not just any
“apostle” but an apostle of Christ, who is not just any “minister” but a
minister of righteousness. Therefore, it is better to take the genitive as
objective.[20] These
ministers serve or bring righteousness.

what way did they pretend to bring righteousness? Did they present themselves
as ministers of forensic justification? As most commentators have concluded,
this is unlikely. There is almost no evidence that justification by faith is an
issue in 2 Corinthians and particularly not in chapters 10-13. The problem throughout
these chapters is the self-serving lifestyle that these apostles recommend and
about which they boast.[21]
Therefore, the righteousness that they mimic but do not have is ethical

So the point must
be emphasized. Paul uses a phrase just barely different from the one in 3:9 to
indirectly describe his ministry (as the ministry that the false apostles seek
to imitate). But here it is a ministry that includes ethical righteousness.
This not only indicates that Paul is comfortable describing his ministry as one
that brings about ethical righteousness, it raises serious doubts as to whether
Paul would have wanted to exclude ethical righteousness from the similar phrase
in 3:9.

6:7–“Weapons of Righteousness”

all the occurrences of dikaiosune in 2
Corinthians, this one provides the fewest contextual clues concerning its
meaning. Paul is continuing his ministry defense having explained his role as
an agent of reconciliation (5:14-21) and having appealed to the Corinthians to
be reconciled themselves (5:20; 6:1). After listing hardships (vv 4-5) and
virtues (v 6), he comes to ministerial equipment and this military metaphor:
“weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left” (v 7c).

There are several
possibilities for the genitive here. [22] David
Garland takes it as a subjective (“weapons provided by righteousness”) where
righteousness becomes a metonym for God.[23] This
understanding would parallel the “power of God” (v 7b) well. However, the
appeal to metonymy seems like a stretch. How do we know that the Corinthians
would have recognized such a disguised reference to God (when other options
were readily available)?

It is more likely
that this is an epexegetic use of the genitive (“weapons consisting of
righteousness”), and thus it is a reference to ethical behavior. An almost
exact parallel occurs in Romans 6:13 where the meaning clearly has to do with
ethical behavior. In the presence of such contextual ambiguity, this parallel
must be given considerable force.

In addition, we
should keep in mind that throughout 2 Corinthians and particularly in 2:14-7:4,
Paul is concerned to demonstrate the integrity of his ministry in the face of
accusations.[24] He is
determined to show the “righteousness” of his conduct towards the Corinthians
(in contrast to his opponents; 11:15). His opponents’ ministry is one that
glories in external appearances (5:12). Paul glories in hardships (6:5). Their
ministry is characterized by deception and greed (2:17). Paul’s is
characterized by righteous behavior (6:7). Once again, in the absence of any
contextual factors that suggest otherwise, dikaiosune
probably carries an ethical flavor.

6:14–Wickedness and Righteousness

6:14-7:1, Paul is urging the believers to remove themselves from the temple
cults and the sinful practices that surround it.[25]
This context and the direct contrast with “wickedness” removes all ambiguity
concerning the meaning of dikaiosune. In
the same way that Christ is distinct from “Belial” (v.15) and that light is
distinct from darkness (v.14), so righteousness has nothing in common with
wickedness. The ethical nuance is unmistakable.

9:9-10–“His Righteousness”/”Harvest of Righteousness”

             In chapters 8-9, Paul appeals to the
Corinthians concerning the collection for the poor saints in Jerusalem. At 9:6,
he begins using a farming metaphor to encourage the Corinthians to sow
generously and to reap bountifully. After stating that God would graciously
sustain them so that they could engage in “every good deed” (v. 8), he quotes
Psalm 111:9:[26] “He
scattered abroad. He gave to the poor. His righteousness endures forever” (v.9).
Then he comments, “Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food
will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your
righteousness” (v. 10).

debate surrounds the referent of “his” in verse 9. The original Psalm is
referring to a pious man but the surrounding context in this letter has God as
the subject. On balance, it seems best to go with the latter option. In verse
8, God makes grace overflow to the Corinthians. In verse 10, God supplies seed
to the sower, etc. It is unlikely that Paul would expect his audience to be so
familiar with a somewhat obscure Psalm that they would ignore the subject suggested
by the present context. Furthermore, the very next verse indicates that Paul
does not mind changing the subject of an Old Testament text in order to make it
fit his argument.[27]

point to note is that whether this passage is referring to God’s righteousness
or to man’s, it still has a strongly ethical flavor.[28] The
righteousness here involves giving to the poor. Whether God or man does it, it
is a “good deed” (v. 8).

verse 10, the dikaiosune belongs to
the Corinthians. What is “the harvest of your righteousness”? Barnett argues
that it is a right-standing which yields a harvest of generosity.[29] But
right-standing is not suggested by anything in this passage, unless one assumes
it is present in the word itself.

clear flow of the passage is that God makes the Corinthians sufficient to give
(v 8). As they respond in cheerful giving, God blesses them more so that they
continue to give (vv 9-11). All of this giving and receiving spirals into
bountiful thanksgiving to God (vv 11b-15). In verse 9, righteousness involves
the sowing, the generous giving. There is no reason why it should not be taken
the same way in verse 10. In fact, “seed for sowing” seems to be set in
parallel with “harvest of…righteousness” in this verse.[30]
God increases both in response to the Corinthians’ generosity. Therefore the
harvest is what God gives in response to the righteousness of generous giving.[31]

5:21–“The Righteousness of God”

is impossible to give such a significant passage a thorough treatment in this
limited format. Instead, I will once again look at the broader context to argue
that ethical righteousness can not be eliminated from the meaning of dikaiosune. The famous text reads: “He [God]
made him [Christ] who knew no sin to be
sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in him.”

this genitive has been understood as either an objective genitive or a genitive
of origin. Either way, righteousness is viewed as something belonging to man.
Many who hold this view believe in some kind of forensic transfer. Two basic
arguments are offered for their position.

First, verse 19
makes it clear that forgiveness of sins is in view. Indeed, part of being
righteous is having a right-standing with God based on his forgiveness. But did
Paul intend to limit dikaiosune to this
meaning alone in this passage? The context indicates otherwise.[32]

they argue that the parallel with “sin” in verse 21 indicates that
righteousness is only forensic. Jesus obviously did not become sin in any
ethical way.[33] But
this forces the language too much. For while it is true that Jesus did not sin,
it is also true that no one literally becomes
the righteousness of God (regardless of how it is defined). Whether
righteousness is “covenant faithfulness,” an imputed quality, or a moral
quality, it is impossible for a person to literally become dikaiosune (simply because persons can not
become abstract qualities). The point is “that Christ came to stand in that
relation to God that normally is the result of sin…”[34]
And so we come to stand in a new relation to God as well. But context must
direct us as to the exact nature of this new relationship.

we look closely at the context, ethical righteousness comes into the
foreground. We should remember that Paul began emphasizing the validity and
character of his ministry in 2:14 and that he has not stopped since (though he has
occasionally diverted his attention to a related topic). Paul’s ministry,
though characterized by outward weakness, is actually glorious because of the
power of the Spirit who works through him (3:1-18). Even though he suffers
physically, he does not lose heart (4:1, 16) because his inglorious ministry
works to God’s glory now (4:15) and will lead to his own glory in the future
(4:16-18; 5:1-10).

indicates that his ministry is motivated both by “fear of the Lord” (5:11) and
“love of Christ” (5:14). Then he concludes that Christ’s sacrificial death
should motivate all people to live for him (5:15). All those in Christ are a
“new creation” (v 17) which implies a different way of living and a different
way of knowing (v 16).

Paul is referring primarily to himself throughout this passage, he clearly
intends for others who belong to Christ to take the same attitude.[35]
N.T. Wright’s argument that this passage refers only to Paul, who is a living
manifestation of God’s covenant faithfulness, does not do justice to the
rhetorical contrast within the verse itself. In addition, the plural “us” in
verse 21 likely refers to more than Paul alone.[36]          

the midst of all this talk about himself and others living for Christ and being
a new creation, Paul introduces the crucial descriptor of his ministry: it is a
“ministry of reconciliation” (v.18).[37]
Reconciliation is primarily a relational term and clearly involves being set in
right relationship with God.[38]
And clearly for God to accept us in this relationship he must forgive our sins
(v.19). However, common sense indicates that a right relationship maintains
behavior that is appropriate for that relationship. This behavior is part of
being a new creation, part of living for Christ.

as God’s ambassador, Paul “begs” them: “Be reconciled to God” (v 20). This
appeal is apparently directed to the Corinthians. The parallel in 6:1 (“I urge
you”) indicates that the Corinthians, by drifting from Paul, had actually
drifted from God and were in danger of apostasy. The mention of the “day of
salvation” (6:2) makes it difficult to distinguish a general salvific appeal in
5:20 from a personal appeal for repentance in 6
:1.  This language is of the same piece, all
pointing to one climatic moment.[39] This
climax is then picked up in 6:11-18 and 7:1-2 as an appeal for holiness and
reconciliation to Paul.

            How does
verse 21 fit into all this talk about reconciliation, forgiveness and right
living? It is possible that Paul just wanted to throw in a short note
describing how the atonement happens. But there is a much better contextual
option available. The parallel of “in him” in verse 21 with “in Christ” (v 17)
indicates a close connection between the “new creation” (v. 17) and
“righteousness of God” (v. 21). In Christ we are a new creation. In Christ we
become the righteousness of God.[40]

In light of this parallel, verse 21
does not appear to be so sudden and strange. Paul is continuing along the same
basic path he has been traveling, arguing for the significance of his ministry.
His ministry places persons “in Christ” where as a new creation they experience
reconciliation with God. And this reconciliation involves both forensic and
ethical righteousness. Therefore, the larger context and the direct parallel of
verses 17 and 21 suggests that when we become the righteousness of God, we
become both forensically and ethically righteous.

This understanding
would allow us to agree with the growing scholarly majority that the genitive
in this phrase should be a possessive (“a quality of God”) or a subjective (“an
activity of God”). Perhaps we could combine the two and say that the
righteousness of God is his righteous character by which he acts righteously
towards his people (and towards the world). When we become the righteousness of
God, we become like him in our being and in our actions, especially by
participating in his work of reconciliation.[41]
This righteousness includes forensic righteousness as well, but is by no means
limited to it.[42]


have argued that ethical righteousness is included within the meaning of dikaiosune in each of its seven occurrences in 2
Corinthians. In each case, contextual clues indicate that ethical concerns are
present in Paul’s mind. Given that dikaiosune
typically carried an ethical nuance in both Jewish and Greek thought, this
broader context becomes decisive.

In addition, I
have argued that what Paul “has joined together,” we should not “put asunder.”
Paul was completely comfortable with loaded terms and package answers. If we
are to interpret him correctly, we must be comfortable with such things as
well. Particularly, we should become comfortable with dikaiosune including both forensic and ethical righteousness.

Thomas (Luke)  Post





[1] I assume
the controversial view that 2 Corinthians is one literary unit. For a good
defense of this view see Murray J. Harris, 
The Second Epistle to the
Corinthians: A Commentary of the Greek Text
(Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2005),

[2] See for
example James D.G. Dunn, The Theology of
Paul the Apostle
(Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998), 341.

[3] K.N.
Onesti and M.T. Brauch, “Righteousness, Righteousness of God” in Dictionary of Paul and His Letters ed.
Gerald H. Hawthorne and Ralph P. Martin (
Downers Grove: IVP, 1993), 827-37.

[4] This
view is common even among scholars who do not wish to reduce righteousness to
the strict definition of “covenant faithfulness.”

[5] Colin
Brown gen. ed., New International
Dictionary of New Testament Theology
, Vol. 3 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan,
1986), 352-73.

[6] Robert
H. Gundry, “The Non-Imputation of Christ’s Righteousness” in Justification: What’s at Stake in the
Debates ed. Mark Husbands and Daniel Treier (Downers Grove, IL:
IVP, 2004), 17-45. Gundry notes that the covenant itself is based on God’s
moral character (“You shall be holy, for I am holy,” Lev. 11:45 and elsewhere).

[7] Jack
Cottrell, What the Bible Says About God
the Redeemer
(Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 1987).

[8] Mark A.
Seifrid, “Righteousness Language in the Hebrew Scriptures and Early Judaism” in
Justification and Variegated Nomism: The
Complexities of Second Temple Judaism
, Vol. I ed. D.A. Carson, Peter T.
O’Brien, and Mark A. Seifrid (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2001), 415-42.

[9] The
final contrastive clause changes the focus from the nature of the ministries to
the duration of the ministries. Therefore, it is not directly relevant to our
discussion here. As for the genitives in question, most commentators choose
either the objective meaning (i.e. “a ministry which brings”) or the
adjectival/qualitative (i.e. “ministry which deals in”). Either meaning is possible
for any of the four phrases and neither seems to make a big difference in the
overall point of the passage.

[10] Of all
the commentaries I consulted in this research, only one Catholic scholar
allowed for righteousness to be more than forensic here. See Frank J. Matera, II Corinthians: A Commentary. New
Testament Library (Louisville, KY:
Westminster John Knox, 2003), 88-89.

[11] At this
point, it seems to me that a number of scholars are assuming they can read
Romans back into 2 Corinthians. That is, in Romans they see Paul teaching a
forensic sentence of “no condemnation,” which is separate from any ethical
righteousness, and they assume that the same reading should work here. Not only
is this a debatable understanding of Romans, it is also questionable methodology.

[12] Though
it may include this as well. See Gordon D. Fee, God’s Empowering Presence: The Holy Spirit in the Letters of Paul
(Peabody: Hendrickson, 1994), 896-99.

[13] Ben
Witherington III, Conflict &
Community in Corinth: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on 1-2 Corinthians

(Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995), 382.

[14] R.Y.K.
Fung, “Justification by Faith in 1 and 2 Corinthians” in Pauline Studies: Essays Presented to F.F. Bruce ed. D.A. Hagner and
M.J. Harris (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1980), 253. Fung notes that since there is
a logical relationship between death and condemnation, we would expect a
logical relationship between Spirit and righteousness.

[15] Again,
Fung points out that Paul could have chosen di,kaioj
which is the strict counterpart to kata,krisij
if he had wanted to ensure a forensic interpretation, 253.

Margaret E. Thrall, II Corinthians. The
International Critical Commentary (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 2000), 696.

[17] Thus,
Barnett’s argument that these are Judaizers appears wrong. They would not pretend
to be like Paul if in reality they were Judaizers. Cf. Harris, 775-76.

[18] So
Victor P. Furnish, II Corinthians: The
Anchor Bible (USA: Doubleday, 1984), 495. This would clearly be an ethical
meaning of righteousness.

[19] So also
Thrall, 696.

[20] Harris,

[21] Some
scholars deny the forensic view because they believe that the opponents are
Judaizers. If they were, they would be openly opposing Paul’s teaching about
justification by faith.  For a
representation of this view see C.K. Barrett, A Commentary on the Second Epistle to the Corinthians, (London: A
& C Black, 1973), 287.

[22] See
Harris, 477 for an overview of the possibilities for the genitive.

[23] David
E. Garland, 2 Corinthians. The New
American Commentary (USA: Broadman and Homan, 1999), 310-11.

[24] Matera,

[25] Paul
Barnett, The Second Epistle to the
. The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand
Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997), 341.

[26] 112:9
in English translations.

[27] Here he
changes the subject of Isaiah 55:10-11 from the earth to God.

[28] As I
argued above, covenant faithfulness is a kind of moral faithfulness (though I
do not adhere to the common view that God’s righteousness = covenant


Furnish, 450.

[31] A
subjective genitive.

[32] As I
will presently argue.

[33] Harris,

Barrett, 180.

[35]  Morna Hooker, “On Becoming the Righteousness
of God: Another Look at 2 Corinthians 5:21” in Novum Testamentum Vol. 50 (2008), 358-375. This is evidenced not
only by the content itself, but by the shift to the third person in verse 15.

[36] A.
Katherine Grieb, “So That in Him We Might Become the Righteousness of God (2
Cor. 5:21): Some Theological Reflections on the Church Becoming Justice” in Ex Auditu Vol 22 (2006), 58-80.

[37] The
genitive should be taken in the same way as one understands the genitive in
3:9. Either adjectival or objective is best.

[38] See
Brown, 166-174.

Furnish, 350.

Barrett’s claim (181) that the “righteousness of God” serves as the ground for
the “new creation” looks like a clear example of doing exegesis in light of
one’s theology.

[41] Onesti
and Brauch, 836.

[42] Though
“covenant faithfulness” seems to be one primary way in which God demonstrates
his righteousness, it is reductionistic to limit righteousness to this meaning
alone. See Seifrid, 424.

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