The Exegetical Anatomy of Righteousness

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The term “righteousness” describes a quality possessed by God and believers. By faith believers acquire it, but God has always possessed righteousness, and constitutes a way of living. It includes a relationship, as well as a standard.


Word Fence of Righteousness

In Scripture, every word counts and God inspired the words in the original autographs of the Bible. Therefore, when God chose one word over another word, we may learn about the definition of one word because of the words around it. Generally, God distinguishes the meanings of word by including one word in the same sentence or paragraph with another word. God has intentionally constructed a word fence, which means that one word stands on one side of the fence, and the other words stand on the other side of the fence. Those words may be distinguished from one another. Therefore, a word fence for “righteousness” may help us define the term.

Fence VersesSome verses use the word “righteousness” with other words in the same sentence. Therefore, we may distinguish other words from righteousness. Although God may equate two words in meaning, when He uses them in a list, it seems unlikely He is using all the words in the list to mean the same thing. Therefore, we may begin constructing our word fence with the following verses.


Fence Words: godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness (1 Timothy 6:11). Therefore, we know that righteousness is distinct from Godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness, because they stand in a list with “righteousness.”  See also 2 Timothy 2:22.

1 Timothy 6:11. “But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue(“δίωκε”) righteousness(“δικαιοσύνην”), Godliness (“εὐσέβειαν”), faith (“πίστιν”), love (“ἀγάπην’), endurance (”ὑπομονὴν”) and gentleness (“πραϋπαθίαν”).” Therefore, we add them to our word fence.

2 Timothy 2:22: “Now flee from youthful lusts (“φεῦγε”) and pursue (“δίωκε”) righteousness (“δικαιοσύνην”), faith (“πίστιν”), love (“ἀγάπην”) and peace (“εἰρήνην”), with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” 

Luke 1:75. In holiness (“ὁσιότητι”) and righteousness (“δικαιοσύνῃ”) before Him all our days.

Acts 24:25. But as he was discussing righteousness (“δικαιοσύνης”), self-control (“ἐγκρατείας”) and the coming judgment (“τοῦ κρίματος τοῦ μέλλοντος”), Felix became frightened and said, “Go away for the present, and when I find time I will summon you.”



Word Fence of Righteousness.

endurance (”ὑπομονὴν”)

faith (“πίστιν”)

gentleness (“πραϋπαθίαν”)

Godliness (“εὐσέβειαν”)

holiness (“ὁσιότητι”)

love (“ἀγάπην’)

peace (“εἰρήνην”)


self-control (“ἐγκρατείας”)

youthful lusts (“νεωτερικὰς ἐπιθυμίας”)

Related Words.

Romans 1:17. for in it righteousness of God (“δικαιοσύνη θεοῦ”) is revealed (“ἀποκαλύπτεται”) out of faith (“ἐκ πίστεως”) to faith (“εἰς πίστιν”); as it is written, “BUT THE RIGHTEOUS (“ὁ δίκαιος”) OUT OF FAITH (“ἐκ πίστεως”) SHALL LIVE (“ζήσεται–future middle indicative”).

Romans 3:26. “for the demonstration (“τὴν ἔνδειξιν”), I say, of His righteousness (“τῆς δικαιοσύνης αὐτοῦ “) at the present time, so that He to be (“εἰς τὸ εἶναι αὐτὸν”) righteous (“δίκαιον”) and the righteousing (“δικαιοῦντα”) the one out of faith of Jesus.” Therefore, we know: (1) that righteousness can be demonstrated; the result of that demonstration of righteousness God is just and the justifier of believers.  


Attaining Righteousness

The Law. Paul spoke about the righteousness obtained by following the Law, and declared himself blameless (Philippians 3:6). Yet, Paul declared that the Jews did not know about God’s righteousness, but were seeking their own righteousness, and did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God (Romans 10:3). Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes (Romans 10:4). People who practices the righteousness based on law shall live by that righteousness (Romans 10:5). Yet, the law, which is holy and its commandments are holy, righteous and good, resulted in death for people, because they sinned and did not keep the law (Romans 7:12), , demonstrates continually that people cannot keep the law, and so fall into all kinds of sin (He. Such attempts to establish their own righteousness based upon the law resulted in the Jews being slaves of sin (Romans 6:17). What the Jews never obtained, but sought, was obtained by the Gentiles, who never sought such righteousness based upon the law, but they attained the righteousness which is by faith (Romans 9:30).

Faith Righteousness. Apart from the Law, the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets (Romans 3:21). Paul meant that Law Righteousness never saved anyone, for no one ever attained righteousness under the Law. All people under the Law sinned and fell short of the glory of God. In fact, the entire world, Jews and Gentiles, have sinned and all fall short of the Glory of God (Romans 3:23).  Yet, all who believe receive the righteousness of God as a free gift through faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 3:22; 1 Timothy 6:11). 

Demonstration of Righteousness. is for all who believe.1 Timothy 6:11. Romans 3:26. whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; 26 for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

The Pursuit of Righteousness

The Standard of Righteousness.  The Jews did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God (Romans 10:3). They did not subject themselves to faith righteousness, but sought to establish their own righteousness. Conflict of self-righteous and God-righteous.

 See the way of living in righteousnes.

The Way of Righteousness

Righteous. The term ” δίκαιον” means righteous, although it is translated in many different ways. This word deserves its own lengthy study later. For now, several verses illustrate the use of the term “righteous”.

The Righteous. Galatians 3:8.

The result of such practice was 

Right Standing before God

Perfect STanding before God

Way of living in right relationship to others, but God always righteous


Constructing a word fence to understand Righteousness



Demonstration of God’s righteousness makes Him just and the justifier of teh one who has faith in Jesus

Abraham believed and reckoned as righteousnes (Romans 4:3)

Faith credited a righteousness (Romans 4:5)

God reckons righteousnss apart from works (Roamns 4:6)

Seal of the righteousness of faith (Romans 4:11)

Promise to Abraham throught the righteousness of faith (Romans 4:13)

Gift of righteousness will reign in life thorugh Jesus Christ (Romans 5:12)

One act of righteousness resulted in justification of life to all men (Romans 5:18)

Grace reigns through righeousess to eternal life thorugh Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 5:21)

Persents ourselvees as instruments of righteousness to God (Romans 6:13).

Obedience results in righteousness (Romans 6:16)

Slaves of Righteousness (Romasn 6:18)

.Slaves of Righteousness, resulting in sanctification (Romasn 6:19).

Slaves of sin free in regard to righteousness (Romans 6:20).

Gentiles did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even teh righteousness which is by faith (Romans 9:30)

Knowing God’s rihgteousness,but seekign to establish their own, they did not subject themselves ot he righteousness of God (Roans 10:3).

Faith results in righteousness (Romasn 10:10)

The kingdom of God is righteousness, peac end joy in the Hoy Spirt (JRoamsn 14:17).

Rihtgeousnes is not wisdom from God, nor sanctification, nor redemption (1Corinthians 1:30).

Ministry of righteousness abounds in glory (2 Corinthians 3:9).

Throught Jesus, we become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Weapons of righteousness (2 Corinthians 6:7). 

partnerhisp of rihteousness and lawlassness (2 Cointhians 6:14).

Righteousnes does come thorugh the law (

‘galantians 2:21)

by faith, we are waiting for the hope of righteousnee (Galatians 6:5).

New man created in righeteousness and holines sofo truth (Ephesians 4:24).

Fruit of the the LIght consists in all goodness, righteousness and turith (Ephesiasn 5:9)

Righteousnes sin the Law, blameless (Philippains 3:6).

Not having a righteousness of my own from the law, but he righteousness wihch come on the basis of faith (Philippians 3:9).




Convist world of righteousness, becuse Jesus goes to the Father (John 16:8,10)


The Scriptures train us in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16).

Crown of Righteousness (2 Timothy 4:8).

Salvation not deeds done in righteousness (Titus 3:5)

Loved Righteousness, hated lawlessness (Hebrews 1:9)

Milk and the word of righteousness (Hebrews 5:13).

Heir of righteousness which is acording to fiath (Hebews 11:7)

Performed act sof righteousness (Hebrews 11:33)

Fruit of Righteousenss (Hebres 12:1)

Anger does not achieve the righteousness of God (James 1:20)

Faith reckoned as righteousness (James 2:23).

See whose fruit is righteousness (James 3:18)

Die  to sin and live to righteousnes 1 Peter 2:24

Suffer for the sake of righteousness (1 Peter 3:14)

REceive faith by the righteounsness of God (2 Peter 1:1)

Known the way of righteousness (2 Peter 2:21)

New heaen and new earth where righteousness dwells (2 Peter 3:13)

Everyone who practices righteousenss is born of God (1 John 2:29)

The one who practices righteousnes sif  righteous, just God is righteous (1 Jhn 3:7)

Jesus judges in in righteousness and wages war in righteousness (Revelation 19:11)

Le he one who is irghteous still practibve righteousness (Revelation 22:11)

Hugner and thirst for righeteousness (Matthew 5:6)


wrath of God revealed against all lawlessness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrightousnes: something may be lawless and unrighteous; 

Unirhteousnesss not wickednes, greed, evil; envy, murder, stfie, deceit, malice and gossipping (Romns 1:29)

Do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteusness, then wrath and indignation (Romns 2:8).

The God who inflict wrath is not unrighteous (?Romans 3:5).

Balaam loved the wages of unrigheousness (2 Peter 2:15)

By faith God cleanses us from unrighteousness (1 John 1:9)

All unrighteousness is sin (1 JOhn 5:17)