Periodical Reviews -- By: Jefferson P. Webster

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 165:658 (Apr 2008)
Article: Periodical Reviews
Author: Jefferson P. Webster

Periodical Reviews

By The Faculty and Library Staff of
Dallas Theological Seminary

Jefferson P. Webster


“The Rhetoric of πίστις in Paul: Galatians 2.16, 3.22, Romans 3.22, and Philippians 3.9,” R. Barry Matlock, Journal for the Study of the New Testament 30 (2007): 173-203.

The meaning of πίστις Χριστοῦ in Galatians 2:16 (twice), 20; 3:22; Ephesians 3:12; Romans 3:22, 26; and Philippians 3:9 is hotly debated among Pauline scholars today. If the genitive noun Χριστοῦ is objective, as it has been understood traditionally, πίστις Χριστοῦ means “faith in Christ,” but if it is subjective the phrase means “faith/faithfulness of Christ.” In this article Matlock counters the most common argument leveled against the objective genitive. This argument is that it creates a redundancy in four of these eight verses (Rom. 3:22; Gal. 2:16; 3:22; Phil. 3:9).

Matlock begins with Philippians 3:9. The phrases τὴν διὰ πίστεως Χριστοῦ (“that which is through faith in/of Christ”) and ἑπὶ τῇ πίστει (“on the basis of faith”) pose a problem of redundancy to some scholars while others see the second as an amplification of the first. Observations of pattern and rationale should lead one to the correct interpretation, and Matlock uses both to analyze the structure of the verse and to conclude that both phrases should be read in the same way. But which way? Matlock points out that contextual indicators point to Χριστοῦ in 3:9 as objective. These indicators are (a) the words “believe” in 1:29, “confidence” in 3:4, and “knowledge” and “know” in 3:8, 10, all of which are directed toward Christ and (b) the parallel between faith and suffering in You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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