Skip to main content

Faith in or of Jesus?

The subjective/objective genetive debate has kicked off again recently as Steve responds (here, then here) to Loren.  Independent of that conversation James Gregory reviews two articles from a rather tasty looking book on the subject.

The debate simply centres around an ambiguity in the Greek when Paul talks about the "faith (of) Christ" it is not clear (purely in terms of grammar) whether he means Christ is the object of that faith, i.e. that he is the one in whom we have faith, or that he is the subject of the faith, i.e. he is the one who has shown faith(fulness).  Loren thinks the objective reading is nonsense, and Steve disagrees.  James Gregory finds the objective reading presented better in the book he reviews, but I suspect that he might feel the subjective reading would be a stronger case if argued rightly.

Because grammatical indicators cannot solve the problem, it has to be solved by exegesis.  Which is fun but time consuming.  And that is my excuse for not having an opinion on the matter yet.  One interesting idea that comes through in the review is the possibility that Paul uses a "plenary genitive," i.e. at that he intends both meanings.  Probably the key passage to think this one through is Gal 2:15-21.  Read it through with each possibility in mind, keep an open mind, and see which you think makes the most sense in context.

15"We who are Jews by birth and not 'Gentile sinners' 16know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by (the) faith in/of Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by (the) faith in/of Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.  17"If, while we seek to be justified in Christ, it becomes evident that we ourselves are sinners, does that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not! 18If I rebuild what I destroyed, I prove that I am a lawbreaker. 19For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!"

PS. Steve also has a great post on this subject in Heb 11:1.  I know it is your favourite verse, so check it out!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Why Dr Charles Stanley is not a biblical preacher

Unusually for me I was watching the tele early on Sunday morning and I caught an episode of Dr Charles Stanley preaching on his television program. Now I know this guy has come under some criticism for his personal life, and that is not unimportant, but it is also not something i can comment on, not knowing the facts. His preaching is however something I can comment on, at least the one sermon I did watch.

He started off by reading 2 Timothy 1:3-7. Which is a passage from the Bible, so far so good. He then spent the next 30 minutes or so talking about his mum and what a great example of a Christian mother she was. Now nothing he said or suggested was wrong, but none of it actually came from scripture, least of all the scripture he read from at the beginning. It was a lovely talk on how Stanley's mother raised him as a Christian despite considerable difficulties and it contained many useful nuggets of advice on raising Christian kids. All very nice, it might have made a nice…

That one time Jesus got the Bible wrong

It's so typical isn't it? You are preaching all day long, training your disciples, sparring with the Pharisees, encouraging the poor and down trodden, healing the sick and casting out demons, all day, day after day, and even when you go up a mountain to get a rest the crowds hunt you down and follow you up, and then the one time you get a bit muddled up with some of the details of a biblical text . . . that is the one they write down in the first gospel - verbatim. At least Matthew and Luke had the good sense to do some editing. But Mark, he always had his eye on giving the public the "historical Jesus" whoever that is supposed to be . . . warts and all. Thanks a lot Mark!

Some think I made the mistake on purpose, just to show the Pharisees up.

For some there is no mistake worth mentioning, only a slightly ambiguous turn of phrase.

Others think I am doing something tricky with Abiathar's name, getting him to figuratively stand in for the priesthood.

It really has…

The Addictive Power of End Times Speculation

The mighty Rhett Snell has picked up his blog again (I wonder how long he'll last this time), check out his theory on why people get so into annoyingly unbiblical end times nonsense.

I think that where codes-and-calendars end times theology is dangerous, is that it can give a sense of false growth. We read a theory online, or hear it from some bible teacher, and we come to think that we have mastered an area of our faith. A bit like levelling up in a computer game, or Popeye after he’s eaten some spinach. At worst, we begin to believe that we’ve taken a step that other Christians have not; that we’ve entered an elite class of Christianity.