Justified by the faith OF Jesus Christ - Gal 2:16

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Ordinary Guy (TM)
Galatians chapter 2, verse 16, says;

"16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith OF Jesus Christ, even we have believed IN Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith OF Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified."


διὰ πίστεως Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ

The expressions dia pisteos, ek pisteos, and pistei, which can all be translated as “by means of” or “through” faith are common in the New Testament. But what about the phrasing here in this particular verse, Galatians 2:16. I am trying to understand why Paul choose to phrase verse 16 thusly.

I have several baptists friends who are influenced by primitive baptist thought and who deny the intrumentality of faith. Is this verse above better rendered the faith OF Jesus Christ or faith in Jesus Christ?

Justified by the Faith OF Jesus Christ, not by Ours.... | The Scholars Corner

What insight can I draw from the construction of this verse?


Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
The KJV uses "of," and there's nothing inherently improper about the choice of rendering πίστεως ᾿Ιησοῦ and πίστεως Χριστοῦ. That's a stock "genitive" construction. The meaning is not "obvious" from a purely lexical consideration; you have to look at the whole contextual thought Paul conveys. Is it an objective genitive, or a subjective?

The understanding we're familiar with as traditional Protestants acknowledges Jesus to be the object of a man's faith, whereby he is justified. Flipping it, to subjective, making Jesus either the believer or the faithful, has led to men like NTW re-construing the notions of justification and works-of-the-law, in order to make sense of Paul. And in the process, undermining the gospel of personal redemption from sin sola gratia.

Given our concerns, it seems reasonable to translate the genitive most explicitly as objective, so rendering it synonymous to other places. Most of these opportunities to translate "faith in Christ" contain some genitive construction, see Php.3:9 for the same. Compare with "the (gen.) into-Christ (acc.) faith," Col. 2:5 & Act.24:24. Also Col.1:4, τὴν πίστιν ὑμῶν ἐν Χριστῷ, which has D.O. acc. at the beginning, "the faith;" followed by genitive "of you;" then, "in Christ," dative.

Paul doesn't have just one standard technical phrase he uses to make his points, but makes it every way possible. Jesus, the object of faith; in tandem with faith as opposed to works.

And I don't think much of the article linked. The author doesn't get Paul's point, in my opinion; he doesn't even understand the concept of faith very well (turning it into a work he though he had to do--he's probably confused by latent Arminian notions, but his solution only creates serious new problems). Plus, he doesn't explain why so many careful and respected exegetes and Bible translators for centuries have erred in their knowledge of both Greek and Paul's thought. I don't see much evidence from what he wrote that he has a grammarian's handle on the text.
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