Justification by Faith: Debates Old and New

a plant and its root to represent justification by faith

Over the course of history, theologians, commentators, preachers, and readers of the Bible have pondered what it means to be “justified by faith in Christ,” as Paul says in Galatians 2:16 (LEB). There are several knots that we have to untie when it comes to understanding justification by faith.

Introduction to debates about justification

The immediate problem is that the language of “justify” or “justified,” though solidly traditional, is now somewhere between an archaic and a theologically technical way to name “being in the right with God.” The Greek word dikaioō is normally forensic: it is the language of jurisprudence, legal pronouncements, and the exercise of justice. In our own language, we would normally say that a person is “vindicated,” “acquitted,” “exonerated,” or “found innocent.” For most people, however, “justify” either has a sense of verbal self-defense (e.g., “please justify your actions”) or else it is something one does in Microsoft Word (i.e., make a paragraph extend evenly between both margins). To unchurched people, this language of “justification” is foreign and obscure.

Added to that, we have to remember that the Greek words underlying “justice,” “justification,” “righteous,” and “righteousness” in our English Bibles share the same lexical root (dik). Whereas in English, we like to make distinctions between legal, ethical, covenantal, or relational aspects of righteousness and justice, these distinctions are not always apparent in Greek. Sometimes we do not know if a reference to “righteousness” is ethical (i.e., a moral state) or forensic (i.e., a legal status), such as when Paul refers to the “hope of righteousness” (Gal 5:5) or contrasts “being made sinners” in Adam in the past with “will be made righteous” in Christ in the future (Rom 5:19). Similarly, in the parable of the unjust judge, what the persistent widow wants from the judge is no mere declaration or empty verdict, she wants him to find her in his favor and to execute justice on her behalf (Luke 18:1–8).

For much of church history, “justification” was merely a summation of salvation, a single-word descriptor for God’s action in Christ reconciling sinners (see Rom 8:30, where “justification” stands in place for everything God does for us in Christ: reconciliation, redemption, rescue, etc.). Accordingly, for much of church history, “justification” could refer to either God’s declaring or making people righteous. In the Latin-speaking church of the West, such a view was soon combined with evolving theologies of merit and developing views of grace as something mediated via the sacraments, leading to works of charity, which in turn provided the basis for one being iustificare, “right with God.” It was during the Reformation that medieval notions of merit and grace as things infused via the sacraments were questioned, criticized, and replaced with a view of grace as mediated through the Holy Spirit upon the individual. As a result, for Protestants, “justification” was God’s declaration that a person was righteous before God irrespective of one’s moral achievements or lack thereof. Indeed, the nature of justification as a process or a forensic state has been debated by Catholic and Protestant apologists for over four centuries.

One problem with viewing justification through the Protestant vs. Catholic debate is that the Jewish Christians that Paul was disagreeing with in Galatians and Romans become regarded as proto-Catholics in Jewish garb. The justification “by works of the law” of which Paul speaks becomes the equivalent of justification by merit or good works. Paul’s Jewish–Christian opponents were treated not so much as Jews but as allegories of medieval Catholicism. Many scholars of Judaism have noted that Judaism was not a religion of righteousness by works, but one of election, grace, and covenant. In this case, then, Paul was not attacking something like “Jewish legalism,” but attacking Jewish exclusivism or nationalism. In effect, the idea that righteousness is tied to Jewishness and that Jewishness entails keeping the symbolic markers of belonging to the Jewish people—typified by circumcision, obeying the food laws about ritual purity, and keeping the sabbath, allegedly summarized as “works of the law.” A new perspective on Judaism as not riddled with legalism or works-righteousness led to a new perspective on Paul. Of course, this new perspective in turn led to a critical response: people wanted to argue in counter-point that there was legalism in Judaism, and “justification” cannot be reduced to saying that Gentiles can be in covenant with God without becoming Jews through proselytism.1

Then again, a loose assortment of scholars known as “Paul within Judaism” want to de-theologize the debates about Paul, justification, and covenant, and focus instead on Paul as a figure of comparative religious history who should be nested among the Judean socio-religious world, the Hellenistic milieu, Judean sectarianism, and Paul’s attempt to mark out a place for Gentiles for his own messianic faction within Judaism. While other scholars, immersed in apocalyptic literature, stress Paul’s sense of God’s radical intervention in Jesus, they wish to emphasize that justification is part of God’s world-upending action to heal the entire cosmos and rectify all that is wrong with Jews and Gentiles. This “apocalyptic Paul” considers justification to be a holistic and transformative action that declares, makes, and effects righteousness in the believer and the entire universe.2

So, as you can see, whether we are parsing Greek verbs, looking at medieval theologies, reading Paul with the Reformers, trying to de-theologize Paul, or attempting to situate Paul’s thought in the orbit of his own apocalyptic worldview, there are a lot of debates about Paul and justification by faith. In what follows, I will attempt to explain these debates further and offer my own proposed solutions to those knotty debates about justification by faith.

Justification: Reformed vs. Catholic

Martin Luther’s exegetical epiphany came from his fresh reading Romans 1:17. It was there that he discovered that the “righteousness of God” was not God’s own righteousness which condemned him; rather, it was a divine righteousness that saved him, a righteousness given and gifted to him, to declare him other than he was, a sinner.

Luther on justification

Thus, although Luther knew himself and others to be sinners, God in Christ had justified them: he had declared them to be other than they were. Thus, for Luther, Christians were simil iustus et peccator, at the same time both “justified” and “sinner,” because God’s declaration of their righteousness was not an analytic verdict of their moral state, but was based on an alien righteousness imputed to them through faith in Christ. Luther wrote in the preface to his Latin writings:

Then I began to understand that the righteousness of God is that by which the righteous lives by a gift of God, namely by faith. This, then, is the meaning: the righteousness of God is revealed by the gospel, viz. the passive righteousness with which the merciful God justifies us by faith, as it is written, “The righteous one lives by faith.” Here I felt that I was altogether born again and had entered paradise itself through open gates. There a totally other face of all Scripture showed itself to me. And whereas before “the righteousness of God” had filled me with hate, now it became to me inexpressibly sweet in greater love. This passage of Paul became to me a gateway to heaven.3

Luther thus broke ranks with the medieval tradition that regarded justification as the impartation and infusion of justice into the believer, to enable them to do works of charity, which would contribute to their acceptance before God.

Calvin’s addition

The French Reformer John Calvin very much continued Luther’s insight and gave it additional exegetical defense and theological articulation in his own account of justification by faith:

[A man] is said to be justified in God’s sight who is both reckoned righteous in God’s judgment and has been accepted on account of his righteousness. Indeed, as iniquity is abominable to God, so no sinner can find favor in his eyes in so far as he is a sinner and so long as he is reckoned as such. Accordingly, wherever there is sin, there also the wrath and vengeance of God show themselves. Now he is justified who is reckoned in the condition not of a sinner, but of a righteous man; and for that reason, he stands firm before God’s judgment seat while all sinners fall. If an innocent accused person be summoned before the judgment seat of a fair judge, where he will be judged according to his innocence, he is said to be “justified” before the judge. Thus, justified before God is the man who, freed from the company of sinners, has God to witness and affirm his righteousness. In the same way, therefore, he in whose life that purity and holiness will be found which deserves a testimony of righteousness before God’s throne will be said to be justified by works, or else he who, by the wholeness of his works, can meet and satisfy God’s judgment. On the contrary, justified by faith is he who, excluded from the righteousness of works, grasps the righteousness of Christ through faith, and clothed in it, appears in God’s sight not as a sinner but as a righteous man.

Therefore, we explain justification simply as the acceptance with which God receives us into his favor as righteous men. And we say that it consists in the remission of sins and the imputation of Christ’s righteousness.4

What you should note is that for Luther and Calvin (and the Protestant tradition in general), justification is the forgiveness of sins and the imputation of righteousness of Christ to the believer—so that justification is not a process of becoming just but a declarative act of God over the believer that God regards them as just.

The response from the Council of Trent

The Council of Trent was the summit of the Roman Catholic Church’s response to the Reformation. It met in several sessions between 1545 and 1563. The sixth session meeting in 1547 made the following canons concerning justification:

Canon no. 9: If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema.

Canon no. 11: If any one saith, that men are justified, either by the sole imputation of the justice of Christ, or by the sole remission of sins, to the exclusion of the grace and the charity which is poured forth in their hearts by the Holy Ghost, and is inherent in them; or even that the grace, whereby we are justified, is only the favor of God; let him be anathema.

Canon no. 12: If any one saith, that justifying faith is nothing else but confidence in the divine mercy which remits sins for Christ’s sake; or, that this confidence alone is that whereby we are justified; let him be anathema.

Many of the key points made at Trent are an explicit rejection of Protestant teaching that:

  1. God justifies the ungodly.
  2. Justification comes by faith alone, not by faith and works which cooperate with divine grace.
  3. Justification is a declaration that God’s righteousness has been imputed to the believer, not a process of becoming just through works of love.
  4. Justification means believers can have complete assurance of their salvation.

So you can understand why Catholics and Protestants have been at loggerheads over how to understand Paul’s teaching on justification since the sixteenth century.

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Questions for the Protestant view

To be honest, one would be hard-pressed to find a Catholic biblical scholar today who would defend a Tridentine reading of Romans or Galatians.5 But that is not to say that the Protestant view is completely a slam dunk.

1. Protestants must face the question of how justification by faith meshes with judgment according to works in places like Roman 2:13–16 and 14:10.

The role of works at the final judgment is something that Protestants disagree on, whether those works are merely evidential of faith, constitute God rewarding his own works in the believer, or comprises a second justification by works. Protestants have entertained all three options!6

2. The Protestant concern for absolute assurance through justification by faith alone has always led to the accusation that this does not produce an incentive for good works.

John Wesley, who accepted the Protestant idea of the gospel of grace, was always a little anxious about Protestant teaching of an imputed righteousness on the grounds that it could become a prop used to defend immoral behavior or excuse someone from energetically pursuing a life of holiness. Now Wesley’s sermon, “The Lord, our Righteousness,” clearly puts him in the Protestant side of the ledger on justification, but he was concerned by anything which drained the impetus towards love and holiness. As you might expect, Catholic apologists were quick to counter Protestant views of Paul by appeal to James 2:24: “You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.” It is a little disconcerting for the Protestant to maintain justification by faith alone when the only place where the words “faith alone” occur in the New Testament is in the epistle to James where James categorically denies that faith alone justifies. Before one goes running to the Vatican asking to be accepted into the Roman Catholic Church, it is worth noting that the Reformers were aware of this tension and had an answer—which is why someone like Calvin could say that while we are not justified by works, neither are believers justified without them!7

3. In Protestant theology, there has always being the problem of how justification (being declared righteous) relates to sanctification (righteous living).

For example, while I would contend that “justification” is generally forensic, in that it refers to a legal state before God rather than a moral achievement (e.g., Rom 8:1; 1 Cor 1:30), even so, in some places justification language can be used in ambiguous fashion. For instance, at one point in Romans (6:7), Paul talks about being (to put it literally) justified from sin (δεδικαίωται ἀπὸ τῆς ἁμαρτίας), a phrase most translations render as “set free/freed from sin” (LEB, NIV, NRSV). Whereas Protestants tend to be paranoid about keeping justification (being declared righteous) and sanctification (becoming righteousness) apart, in Romans 6:7, Paul appears to hint at the transformation nature of justification!

4. The Protestant emphasis on the imputation of Jesus’s active obedience to the believer has also been more assumed than argued.

For a start, a distinction between the active obedience (law-keeping) and passive obedience (obedience unto death) of Jesus is foreign to the New Testament. In addition, there is no verse in the New Testament that states plainly that Jesus’s own righteousness is imputed to the believer. While the language of “reckoning” and “crediting” is used in places like Romans 4, it is not used consistently. If anything, faith is imputed to believers, that is, their faith is counted in the place of works like circumcision as it was for Abraham (Rom 4:5). There was an epic debate between John Piper and N. T. Wright on this very point, and I hasten to say that I think Wright gets the better of the argument.8

Paul emphasizes that believers are righteous in Christ (Gal 2:17) so that union with Christ is what does the heavy lifting in an explanation of justification. This is why I’ve argued for the utility of the phrase “incorporated righteousness” rather than an “imputed righteousness.”9

Along this line, Brian Vickers concluded: “Finally it is clear that being righteous before God is intrinsically related to union with Christ. In these texts it is primarily a representative union, with the believer being incorporated into Christ and identified as such by God and so partaking of all Christ’s benefits.”10

Of course, it depends on what domain of discourse we are using, these words meaning different things based on whether one is operating in the field of historical exegesis or systematic theology.11

I would argue that imputation is perhaps a corollary of the identification of the believer with Christ—it is part of the implicature of justification—so that imputation is a theological explanation to explain the logic of Paul’s language of justification. In which case, imputation is valid as a theological judgment, but is not an exegetical description.

A lot of water has flowed under the bridge since 1521 and progress in Protestant–Catholic dialogue has been made! In 1999, the World Lutheran Federation and several Catholic theologians produced the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification to try forge some common ground on the topic, move past stereotypical descriptions of each other’s view, and try to take a serious look at just how close they are to each other. Now, the declaration does not have official status in the Catholic Church, nor was there any renunciation of either Luther or Trent, but it demonstrated that Catholics and Protestants do have much in common on justification by faith even if a few points of contention remain. The statement affirmed in §15 that:

In faith we together hold the conviction that justification is the work of the triune God. The Father sent his Son into the world to save sinners. The foundation and presupposition of justification is the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Christ. Justification thus means that Christ himself is our righteousness, in which we share through the Holy Spirit in accord with the will of the Father. Together we confess: By grace alone, in faith in Christ’s saving work and not because of any merit on our part, we are accepted by God and receive the Holy Spirit, who renews our hearts while equipping and calling us to good works.12

That’s certainly not the end of the matter, but it is a good piece of common ground to work from in the future for Catholic–Protestant discussions on justification by faith.13

Bringing together old and new perspectives on justification

Catholics vs. Protestants is not the only justification debate in town. So consider this! Rather than read Paul’s epistles beside Luther’s writings or the Tridentine canons, what if we read Paul beside the Dead Sea Scrolls, with the Mishnah of the Rabbis, or alongside the writings of Josephus? If you change the context, you change the debates, and you change the problem that justification seeks to fix.

What if we entertain the idea that not all Jews were seeking salvation by personal merit or were trying to climb the stepladder of salvation and trusted instead in the efficacy of the covenant and the mercy of God? This is not hypothetical: we do find such things in Jewish literature. Consider the following quote from a piece of the Dead Sea Scrolls:

As for me, if I stumble, the mercies of God shall be my eternal salvation. If I stagger because of the sin of the flesh, my justification shall be by the righteousness of God which endures forever. … He will draw me near by His grace, and by His mercy will He bring my justification. He will judge me in the righteousness of His truth and in the greatness of His goodness, and He will pardon all my sins. Through his righteousness He will cleanse me of all the uncleanness of man and of the sins of the children of men.14

You have to admit, that does not exactly sound like somebody trying to earn their own salvation by works! Accordingly, E. P. Sanders (and others before him) argued that Jews of the Second Temple Period were not the bastion of work-righteousness and merit theology that Protestants assumed characterized Jews in Paul’s day. But that creates a problem! For if Paul was not fighting against Jewish “legalism,” then what was he refuting in his epistles? Enter the New Perspective on Paul (NPP)!

If we accept the premise that not all Jews everywhere and all the time were seeking to earn their salvation, then what did Paul find wrong with Judaism? Well, for scholars of the NPP, the problem was not Jewish legalism, but Jewish nationalism. The problem was Jewish belief that salvation was tied to Israel’s election and the boundary markers of that election were expressed through works of the law, works which focused on the things that made Jews separate from Gentiles, like circumcision, food laws, and sabbath observance. Now if you were raised as a Protestant, this does require moving some mental furniture around in your head to grasp it. But if you read Galatians 2, Romans 4, and Acts 15 together, and if you read them beside Josephus’s account of the conversion of the royal house of Adiabene to Judaism, where king Izates was getting conflicting advice on whether he needed to be circumcised,15 then you realize that you are entering into a different world which is just as much about sociology, ritual, and identity as it is about theology. At the end of the day, in Galatians and Romans, Paul is arguing that Gentiles do not have to become Jews (via circumcision for males) in order to be followers of Jesus. Which means that justification by faith is not just about, “What must I do to be saved?” but it answers the question, “Who are God’s people, and how do you tell?”

Of course, this would mean that justification, far from being principally concerned with how sinners find a merciful God, is really about ethnic inclusion, rites of passage, and breaking down barriers. Naturally, some people are allergic to that kind of reading, but I want to suggest that we don’t have to forfeit the old Protestant concern of salvation by grace, and we must embrace the covenantal or social texture of justification by faith if we are trying to understand Paul’s own concerns and language.

Consider the following:

  1. What Paul names as the opposite of justification by faith: “For we consider a person to be justified by faith apart from the works of the law. Or is God the God of the Jews only? Is he not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, also of the Gentiles” (Rom 3:28–29). The opposite of justification by faith is the belief that God’s saving activity is limited to ethnic Jews!
  2. Why was Jesus cursed on the cross? Paul says that “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, because it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.’” But why? When I ask my students, they say things like, “So we could go to heaven, be forgiven, be saved,” and so forth. But that’s not what Paul says. Paul tells us why Christ was cursed: “in order that the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith” (Gal 3:13–14). Paul explains the covenantal curses falling upon Jesus not to be the means of the sinful soul’s rescue, but part of the redemptive–historical plan to bring Gentiles into the family of Abraham through faith in Jesus! Paul is not thinking individually, but redemptive–historically about God bringing Jews and Gentiles together, as the prophets forecast God would one day through Israel, more precisely, through Israel’s Messiah.
  3. I’m sure many of you know Ephesians 2:8–10 is about salvation by grace through faith and the necessity of good works. But have you read Ephesians 2:11–3:13, which makes the immediate implication and application to be the unity of Jews and Gentiles in one body with the dividing wall separating them broken down?

To be sure, Judaism was diverse—and, yes, some streams put more emphasis on Torah observance, being part of the right sect with the right practices, and what to do to enter the age to come. But Paul’s discourse on justification was focused on Gentile inclusion in the church by faith (the covenantal aspect of justification) just as much as it was on forgiveness and reconciliation whereby the verdict of judgment day had already been declared in advance and the verdict was one of “righteous” (the eschatological aspect of justification). So a robust and holistic account of justification might attempt to bring together old and new perspectives.

Justification: Apocalyptic Paul and Paul within Judaism

We need to say something briefly now about the Apocalyptic Paul (AP) and Paul within Judaism (PwJ) as schools or trends that are very much in vogue in the study of Paul today.

To use Galatians as an example, some Pauline commentators find the key to Paul’s theology in places like Galatians 1:3–4: “Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins in order to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father.” This accents the cosmic deliverance that God wrought in Jesus. In which case, for the AP, justification is not merely about individual sinners, or even ethnic inclusion, but the very rectification of the cosmos, defeating the powers, and the transformation of humanity who languishes in the grip of hostile powers.16

Alternatively, if one looks at Galatians 2:11–14, where Paul disputed with Cephas (i.e., Peter) over food, table-fellowship with Gentiles, and walking towards the truth of the gospel, then PwJ will treat justification language according to its religious texture and as part of the general diversity within Judaism rather than pit Paul’s doctrine of justification as a doctrine conceived against Judaism. Accordingly, for PwJ, “justification” is how Paul legitimizes the fitness of Gentile adherents to a messianic faith to sit beside Jews in common meals despite the semantics and politics of believing and belonging in first-century Judaism.17

Far more can be said about the AP and PwJ, but the debate is still ongoing, and both schools demonstrate that what justification means for any given interpreter will be shaped by the context that Paul is put into, whether that is the rebellion of cosmic powers (AP) or the ambiguities and sectarian divides of first-century Judaism (PwJ).

Conclusion

This essay has covered a lot of big historical, theological, exegetical, and scholarly terrain. To bring it all together, let me offer a brief conclusion.

In light of all these debates, I would conclude that justification is the act whereby God creates a new people, with a new status, in a new covenant, as a foretaste of the new age. Justification means that God’s verdict of condemnation against our sin at the cross is transformed into God’s verdict of righteousness for us issued in the raising of the Son. We are, then, incorporated into the righteousness of Jesus Christ so that his vindication, and his obedient act that was the basis for it, is counted as ours.

What is more, justification is multifaceted: it means that there is no condemnation for us at the final judgment, because the judgment has already been issued in the raising of the crucified one (the eschatological aspect of justification), and faith is the means for bringing Gentiles into the family of Abraham so that the promise made to Abraham about a covenant-family-over-all-the-earth would be made good (the covenantal aspect of justification).

Protestants are concerned with the gracious nature of justification by faith. Let’s keep that. Catholics are concerned to make sure that while we are justified by faith, that faith is never divorced from love, good works, and holiness. Let’s keep that, too. Justification by faith also means fellowship by faith across ethnic differences, because the church calls Jews and Gentiles to faith in Israel’s Messiah, to be brothers and sisters united in the Messiah’s family—a New-Perspective-on-Paul concern worth preserving. Also, God’s “justifying” verdict or intervention—whatever we want to call it—is launched upon a world mired in horrors that needs the hope of God’s world-righting power, life, and love, agreeing with the Apocalyptic Paul. Yet Paul remained a Jew; he never became a “Christian” as we know it, so we are wise to locate Paul in his Jewish context and understand the Jewish nature of his discourse, with the Paul within Judaism crew.

McGrath, Alister E. Iustitia Dei: A History of the Christian Doctrine of Justification (4th ed; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020).

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  1. Kent L. Yinger, The New Perspective on Paul: An Introduction (Eugene, OR: Cascade, 2011); Garwood P. Anderson, Paul’s New Perspective: Charting a Soteriological Journey (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2016); James D. G. Dunn, The New Perspective on Paul: Collected Essays (Tubingen: Mohr/Siebeck, 2005).
  2. See Jamie P. Davies, The Apocalyptic: Paul Retrospect and Prospect, Cascade Library of Pauline Studies (Eugene, OR: Cascade, 2022); Matthew Thiessen, A Jewish Paul: The Messiah’s Herald to the Gentiles (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2023).
  3. Martin Luther, “Preface to Latin Writings [1545],” in Luther’s Works, eds. Helmut T. Lehmann, Hilton C. Oswald, and Jaroslav Pelikan (Minneapolis, MI: Fortress Press, 1960), 34:336–37.
  4. John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, ed. John T. McNeill, trans. Ford Lewis Battles, Library of Christian Classics (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2011), 1:726–27.
  5. See for instance the very Protestant-esque take on Romans by Joseph A. Fitzmyer, Romans (New York, NY: Doubleday, 1993).
  6. See further Michael F. Bird, The Saving Righteousness of God: Studies on Paul, Justification, and the New Perspective (Carlisle, UK: Paternoster, 2007), 155–78; Alan P. Stanley, ed., Four Views on the Role of Works at the Final Judgment (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2013).
  7. Calvin, Institutes, 3:11.23.
  8. John Piper, The Future of Justification: A Response to N. T. Wright (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2007); N. T. Wright, Justification: God’s Plan and Paul’s Vision (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2009). See discussion in Michael F. Bird, “What Is There Between Minneapolis and St. Andrews? A Third Way in the Piper–Wright Debate.” JETS 54 (2011): 299–309.
  9. Bird, Saving Righteousness of God, 60–88.
  10. Brian Vickers, Jesus’ Blood and Righteousness: Paul’s Theology of Imputation (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2006), 195.
  11. D. A. Carson, “The Vindication of Imputation: On Fields of Discourse and Semantic Fields,” in Justification: What’s at Stake in the Current Debates, eds. M. Husbands and D. J. Treier (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2004).
  12. The Lutheran World Federation and The Roman Catholic Church, Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2000), 15.
  13. See David E. Aune, Rereading Paul Together: Protestant and Catholic Perspectives on Justification (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2006).
  14. 1QS 11.11–15, trans. G. Vermes.
  15. Josephus, Antiquities 20.17–46; see discussion in Michael F. Bird, Crossing Over Sea and Land: Jewish Missionary Activity in the Second Temple Period (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson 2010), 97–99.
  16. See D. A. Campbell, The Deliverance of God: An Apocalyptic Rereading of Justification in Paul (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2013).
  17. See Matthew Theissen, A Jewish Paul: The Messiah’s Herald to the Gentiles (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2023).
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Michael F. Bird

Michael F. Bird (PhD University of Queensland) is Deputy Principal at Ridley College, Melbourne, Australia. He is an Anglican priest and the author of over 30 books about the New Testament and Theology. He can be found on X at @mbird12 and blogs at michaelfbird.substack.com.

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