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Justification & Righteousness – Word Study

An amazing word study by my good friend Andrew Mobley, hope you enjoy! I understand this is a higher level of information when pertaining to scripture knowledge. However, when understood correctly and applied to scripture reading, it helps you understand the wording and usage of the word in the NT.

Word Study Justification


Step 1



  1. a reason, fact, circumstance, or explanation that justifies or defends:

His insulting you was ample justification for you to leave the party.

  1. an act of justifying : The painter’s justification of his failure to finish on time didn’t impress me.
  2. the state of being justified.
  3. Also called justification by faith. Theology. the act of God whereby humankind is made or accounted just, or free from guilt or penalty of sin.
  4. Printing. the spacing of words and letters within a line of type so that all full lines in a column have even margins both on the left and on the right (

Step 2

God’s Word and the New Living translation use “approval, right, life-giving approval, or right relationship” for justification (biblegateway).  Interestingly, the word justification didn’t appear in the verses when the English Standard Version did.

Step 3

1) δικαίωσις dikaíōsis, dik-ah’-yo-sis; from G1344: In secular writing, the word is legal terminology. δικαίωσις is a person’s defense in a court room. Therefore, in the bible, the greek word is used to describe God judging a person and finding the innocent because of Christ.  This is the act of God calling a sinner sinless (Thayer’s Greek Lexicon Blue Letter Bible).

2) δικαίωμα dikaíōma, dik-ah’-yo-mah; from G1344: Used in Romans 5:16 in the ESV.  The meaning of δικαίωμα appears to be establishing what is right by declaring a law.  Secondly, the Greek carries a meaning similar to righteousness (Thayer’s Greek Lexicon Blue Letter Bible).

Step 4


Rom 4:25 who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.

Rom 5:16 And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification.

Rom 5:18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men (Blue Letter Bible).

Step 5

My most notable take away was noticing that the thought by thought translations used the same words as they would for righteousness.  The Thayer’s Lexicon confirms accuracy as the ESV use two different variances of a Greek word that could be used to describe justification.  I’ve been taught that justification was God legally declaring a repentant person innocent by faith through Christ.  However, seeing that law could justify an execution of an act is new to me (Blue Letter Bible).  This makes me think of the passage in Romans that declares God just and the justifier.


Step 1



  1. the quality or state of being righteous.
  2. righteous conduct.
  3. the quality or state of being just or rightful: They came to realize the righteousness of her position on the matter (

Step 2

God’s Word and the New Living Translation use several different words seemingly interchangeably for righteousness.  At least once, “fair, moral, life-giving approval” was used (GW NLT).  More commonly “approval, right, righteous, and approve(s)” was used (GW NLT).  Finally, “right, right relationship, and right standing” was given (GW NLT).

Step 3

dikaiosýnē, dik-ah-yos-oo’-nay; from G1342:  Commonly used for describing a condition in which the subject is able to be upright as well as capable of doing what is honorable before God.  Dikaiosýnē is also used in explaining how man can become acceptable to God.  The secondary meaning of dikaiosýnē includes a description of the process of reproving a person’s thinking, emotions, and will.  In other words, a person that is made righteous by God will have an accurate pattern of thinking, feeling, and response towards God.  Therefore, not only is a redeemed person acceptable to God through Christ, the person becomes more like Christ through obedience (Thayer’s Greek Lexicon blue letter bible).

Step 4


Rom 1:17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

Rom 3:5 But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.)

Rom 3:21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the prophets bear witness to it

Rom 3:22 the righteousness of God trough faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction:

Rom 3:25 Whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.

Rom 3:26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

Rom 4:3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness

Rom 4:5 And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness,

Rom 4:6 just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one whom God counts righteousness apart from works:

Rom 4:9 Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? For we say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness.

Rom 4:11 He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well

Rom 4:13 For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith.

Rom 4:22 That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.”

Rom 5:17 For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.

Rom 5:18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.

Rom 5:21 so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Rom 6:13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.

Rom 6:16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?

and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.

Rom 6:19 I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.

Rom 6:20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.

Rom 8:10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

Rom 9:30 What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith;

Rom 9:31 but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law.

Rom 10:3 For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.

Rom 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

Rom 10:5 For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them.

Rom 10:6 But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down)

Rom 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Blue letter Bible).

Step 5

My biggest take away for Righteousness is learning that a secondary meaning for the Greek word dikaiosýnē includes an essence in correcting how a person thinks.  This brings so much more impact to Romans five where Paul describes an unredeemed person as an enemy of God.  In addition, Romans fourteen includes Holy Spirit which could indicate His role in regeneration as well as sanctification (Blue Letter Bible).  Secondly, the fact that emotions were included in Thayer’s Lexicon infuses an incredible amount of encouragement to my being.  Doubts, anxiety, anger, malice, wrath, and every act of the flesh can be done away with.  Finally, looking at different translations reveals a person’s morality is brought into subjection to God’s standard who is Jesus.  No wonder self-righteousness is a rejection of God.

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