The Faith of Christ

Gaye Strathearn, “The Faith of Christ,” in A Witness for the Restoration: Essays in Honor of Robert J. Matthews, ed. Kent P. Jackson and Andrew C. Skinner (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2007), 93–127.

The Faith of Christ

Gaye Strathearn


Gaye Strathearn was an assistant professor of ancient scripture at Brigham Young University when this was published.


At the 1988 meeting of the Pauline Theology Group, a debate exploded that had been slowly percolating since the time of Martin Luther. [1] The debate focused on the translation and associated theological implications of eight passages (Romans 3:22, 26; Galatians 2:16, 20; 3:22, 26; Ephesians 3:12; Philippians 3:9). [2] Each of these passages consists of a phrase with the Greek word pistis (“faith”) in a genitive construction with a title for Jesus. [3] Paul uses seven of them in his discussions of justification, showing how a believer is “made righteous.” The eighth passage, Ephesians 3:12, uses the genitive construction to describe how believers can have access to Christ. The issue at stake is whether these genitive constructions should be translated as objective genitives, “faith in Christ,” or as subjective genitives, “faith of Christ.” In other words, are we made righteous or have access to Christ by the faith that we have in Christ, or is it from the faith that Christ possesses? Both translations are possible with the genitive construction. During the 1988 meeting, the leading proponents of each of these differing translations engaged each other in a heated exchange. James D. G. Dunn compared the group who championed the subjective genitive translation “to the headlong rush of the Gerasene swine into the sea [Mark 5:1–16].” In response, Richard B. Hays likened Dunn to “the Gerasene swineherds who begged Jesus to go away and leave them alone.” [4]

Despite the ad hominem attacks leveled here, the importance of the theological issues raised are significant for Latter-day Saints. A cursory look at each of the passages involved quickly shows that, with the exception of Romans 3:26, the King James Version favors the subjective genitive translation, “faith of Christ.” [5] The Prophet Joseph Smith did not make any substantive changes to these passages in his translation of the Bible. [6] Yet most other modern English translations that I have examined translate them using the objective genitive, “faith in Christ.” [7] I have concluded that Paul intended the subjective genitive—we are made righteous by Christ’s faith. For me, the debate is important because it brings to our attention an important element in Christ’s redeeming role that is rarely discussed outside of the limited circle of this scholarly debate: Christ has faith, and His faith plays a pivotal role in our salvation. The Lectures on Faith provide tacit support for the subjective reading and also suggest an important element to the understanding of the “faith of Christ” that has not been addressed by New Testament scholars.

As I have studied the arguments from both sides of the debate, it seems to me that there are three main issues at stake. [8] First, is it possible to distinguish grammatically between a subjective or an objective genitive in Paul’s epistles? Second, what would a subjective genitive translation mean in Paul’s theology? Third, what are the theological implications of a translation of “faith of Christ”? In this paper I will address all of these issues and then turn to a discussion of the use of the phrase “faith of Christ” in the Book of Mormon. But to understand these issues, we must discuss the nature of justification in Paul’s writings.

Paul’s Teachings on Justification

Justification is one of the major themes in Paul’s writings. The Greek word he uses for “justification” and its cognates is dikaiosunē, which literally translates as “to be made righteous.” [9] Justification is essential for salvation because, as Paul notes, “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), and Nephi teaches that “no unclean thing can dwell with God” (1 Nephi 10:21). Paul’s concern here is much broader than the effects of Adam and Eve’s Fall in the Garden of Eden. He is very concerned with the fall that each individual initiates every time he or she sins. Justification, therefore, in part, is the means whereby both the Fall and the fall can be reversed. However, for Paul, justification is more than a “simple pardon.” As John F. MacArthur Jr. notes, “Pardon alone would still leave the sinner without merit before God.” [10] Justification not only imputes righteousness to offset the negative balance of sin; it also conveys the positive bestowal of righteousness that is imputed or calculated (logizomai) for us, as it was for Abraham (see Romans 4:22).

Unlike Paul’s opponents who believed that justification came from living the law of Moses, [11] Paul refuted their logic and taught the calculation of righteousness comes not from works, but “if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification” (Romans 4:24–25). [12] Thus, Paul declares to the Philippians his status as being “in [Christ], not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ [pisteōs Christou], the righteousness which is of God by faith” (Philippians 3:9). Again, he writes to the Galatians, “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Christ [pisteōs Iesou Christou], even we have faith in Jesus Christ [hēmeis eis Christon Iēsoun episteusamen], that we might be justified by the faith of Christ [pisteōs Christou], and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. . . . I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God [en pistei . . . tē tou huiou tou theou], who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:16, 20; author’s translation). These passages from Philippians and Galatians are at the heart of the debate.

Grammatical Considerations

Greek grammar allows for both subjective and objective genitival constructions. The question is, how does a translator make the determination? Both groups argue that Paul would not have left the matter ambiguous but would have provided some way for the reader to determine the appropriate translation.

Arland J. Hultgren and Dunn, representing the objective reading, argue that the absence of the definite article in the pistis Christou formula is evidence against a subjective reading. [13] Hultgren wrote that “when Paul uses the term [pistis] followed by a genitive which is clearly to be understood as subjective, the article is invariably present before [pistis].” [14] He bases this claim on Romans 3:3 and 4:12. He continues, “Much more frequently the genitive is a pronoun, and the standard formulation is [hē pistis hēmōn; ‘our faith’], etc.” He concludes, therefore, “One can expect that Paul would have supplied the article (so [hē pistis tou Christou; literally, ‘the faith of the Christ’]) if he intended to speak of the (subjective) faithfulness of Christ, but that is precisely what he does not do.” [15]

Sam K. Williams, however, provided a significant critique of Hultgren’s assertions. He convincingly showed that Hultgren’s examples with the pronoun do not hold up because in the New Testament, we typically do not find nouns without the article when they are used with pronouns such as “your” (hymōn), “our” (hēmōn), or “his” (autou). “Except in the vocative (e.g., Matthew 6:9; 1 Corinthians 14:39), a noun with a genitive pronoun is usually articular.” [16] It is the pronoun, not the genitive construction, that requires the presence of the definite article. Therefore, the balance of Hultgren’s argument lies with just two verses: Romans 3:3 and 4:12. Williams also questions the validity of both these verses. The problem with Hultgren’s argument in Romans 3:3 is that even though Paul uses the article (tēn pistin tou theou), other passages in Romans show that he is not consistent in using it. For example, in the same epistle, Paul can refer to the righteousness of God (a subjective genitive) using both a phrase with the article (Romans 10:3; hē tou theou dikaiosynē and hē dikaisosynē tou theou) and without the article (Romans 1:17; 3:21; dikaiosunē theou). [17] Williams also dismisses Romans 4:12 on the grounds that Hultgren has oversimplified its construction. Instead of it reading “of the faith of Abraham” (tēs pisteōs tou Abraam), the text actually says “of the faith of our father Abraham” (tēs . . . pisteōs tou patros hēmōn Abraam). Here he argues that the definite article is governed by the “our father” construction because “among NT authors the governing noun is usually articular when the governed noun is articular.” [18] Hultgren never responded to these arguments. [19]

Dunn knew of Williams’s work and agreed with his arguments about pronominal constructions. [20] Nevertheless, he argues—based on James 2:1 and Revelation 2:13; 14:12—that “the more characteristically Jewish Christian documents in the NT” use definite articles in subjective genitive constructions. Like Hultgren, he also appeals to Romans 3:3, but, even though he was aware of the article, Dunn makes no response to Williams’s critique of this verse. Even more telling, perhaps, Dunn himself supplies two exceptions that are subjective genitives but which do not have a definite article: Ephesians 3:12 and Romans 4:16. [21]

In contrast to these grammatical claims, proponents of a subjective reading also argue that Paul would not have left the issue of meaning ambiguous. The major argument from this camp is that when Paul wanted a pistis phrase to be interpreted objectively, he used a dative construction with either the preposition en or eis, which are both translated “in.” We find this construction in Galatians 2:16, “We had faith in Jesus Christ” (hēmeis eis Christon Iēsoun episteusamen; author’s translation); Galatians 3:26, “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus (dia tēs pisteōs en Christō Iesou), [22] and Philippians 1:29, “Not only have faith in him, but also to suffer for his sake” (to eis auton pisteuein; author’s translation). Other passages include 1 Timothy 3:13; 2 Timothy 1:13; and 3:15, but they do not generally enter into the discussion because many scholars consider them to be epistles of disputed authorship. However, since they corroborate what we find in the undisputed epistles, they should not be dismissed out of hand. [23]

Two passages are critical for me in establishing a grammatical base for a subjective genitive reading. First, although arguments for and against subjective genitive readings have appealed to sources outside Paul’s writings and have been used to strengthen their arguments, the most significant passage must be Romans 4:16. [24] Here Paul uses a genitive construction without a definite article, that can only be read as a subjective genitive. It is clearly Abraham’s faith that Paul refers to, not our faith in Abraham. This passage proves that Paul understood and used genitive constructions when he wanted to talk of the “faith of” an individual. [25]

The other passage is Galatians 2:16. Hays notes that it “has always been the strongest evidence in favor of the objective interpretation.” [26] This is because, as we have noted, in addition to encouraging a faith in Christ it also includes two examples of pistis Christou. The context suggests to me that Paul is making a distinction between the roles of the faith of Christ and the believer’s faith in Christ in the process of justification. If he is not making this distinction, then the passage reads as follows: “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ, and we have had faith in Jesus Christ, in order that we might be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” Although Dunn argues that the threefold reading of “faith in Christ” is for emphasis, [27] the grammatical makeup of the verse strongly suggests to me that Paul is here distinguishing between the two critical requirements for justification. [28] This is especially so with the hina clause that joins the two phrases: “we have had faith in Jesus Christ” and “we might be justified by pisteōs Christou.” The hina shows that the second phrase is a consequence of the first, not just a restatement. [29] Therefore, I would translate this passage as follows: “But knowing that a man is not made righteous through the works of the law except [it is] through the faith of Jesus Christ, and we had faith in Jesus Christ in order that we might be made righteous through the faith of Christ and not through the works of the law.”

What Can “Faith of Christ” Mean?

Numerous scholars have also debated whether the concept of the faith of Christ is consistent with the rest of Pauline theology. Dunn raises one of the significant criticisms: “What does ‘the faith of Christ’ mean? To what does it refer?” [30] This is a valid question that must be addressed. One of the difficulties in answering the question is that Paul does not “take time to explain exactly what he means” by pistis Christou. [31] Although Dunn turns to this point as an argument against a subjective reading, it may also be interpreted to mean that the concept was understood well enough that Paul did not feel the need to explain it. [32] We find a similar lack of explanation in Paul’s reference to baptism for the dead in 1 Corinthians 15.

We must address two red flags concerning the concept of Christ’s faith. Thomas Aquinas articulates the first. He argued that Christ did not have faith, and it is perhaps this reasoning that lies behind the reticence of some scholars. His argument was grounded in his definition of faith. “From the moment of conception,” he writes, “Christ had a full vision of the very being of God. . . . Therefore he could not have had faith.” Although Aquinas admits that Christ had “moral virtues he could not have had faith. For the moral virtues do not carry the kind of limitation faith does.” He continues, “The moral value of faith comes from accepting, out of obedience to God, things which are not clearly seen.” [33] In essence, Aquinas understands faith to be an inferior version of knowledge. Under this definition Christ, as a perfect being, could not have faith. Aquinas’s definition probably resonates with many. Hebrews 11:1 states, “Now faith is the substance [or, “assurance”; Joseph Smith Translation, Hebrews 11:1] of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Likewise Alma taught, “Faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true” (Alma 32:21; see also Ether 12:6). As we will see, however, I will argue that these verses represent a limited definition of faith. They are absolutely true for an individual with limited knowledge, but they do not encompass the full spectrum of faith.

The second red flag that we must address is that no one who argues for the “faith of Christ” interpretation, as far as I am aware, interprets it from a confessional perspective. In other words, when we talk of the faith of Christ, we are not talking about a faith that leads to repentance. While this type of faith is essential for believers, Christ was and is the sinless Son of God. Hebrews teaches that He “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (4:15; compare D&C 45:4). Even though He was baptized, it was to fulfill all righteousness; it was not for a remission of sins; hence John the Baptist’s declaration, “I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?” (Matthew 3:14; see also 2 Nephi 31:5–7). So the question remains, how else can we understand “faith of Christ”? There are a number of levels of interpretation that can profitably help us understand the doctrine of justification. I will highlight three nuances of Christ’s faith. [34]

Most scholars who champion the subjective genitive emphasize a nuance of pistis that describes fidelity. The “faith of Christ” is manifest in His subjection and obediA ence to God’s will. Dunn wants his opponents to specify whether “faith of Christ” refers to His obedience throughout His mortal ministry or to His death and Resurrection. [35] Such a distinction, however, is artificial because He was always obedient to His Father’s will. During His mortal ministry Christ taught, “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me” (John 5:30). The Joseph Smith Translation adds further clarity to the Matthean record of Christ on the cross: “Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, saying, Father, it is finished, thy will is done, yielded up the ghost” (Matthew 27:50; italics used for Joseph Smith Translation addition). Thus, Paul taught that Christ, “being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:8). In the Book of Mormon, Abinadi likewise taught, “Yea, even so he shall be led, crucified, and slain, the flesh becoming subject even unto death, the will of the Son [was] swallowed up in the will of the Father” (Mosiah 15:7). His obedience in performing the Atonement, according to Hays, “is simultaneously a loving act of faithfulness . . . to God and the decisive manifestation of God’s faithfulness to his covenant promise to Abraham.” [36]

A second nuance of the “faith of Christ” is an extension of the first. It is that Christ had faith in His Father and in His Father’s plan. Here faith is used in the sense of trust or confidence. Moses 4 teaches that in the premortal life Christ supported the Father’s plan. While Satan proposed an alternate plan for humanity’s salvation, Christ declared, “Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever” (Moses 4:2). Although Moses does not specifically use the word faith in his description, the fact that Christ did not propose an alternate plan strongly suggests that He, unlike Satan, had faith, or confidence, in the one put forward by the Father. Note what is stated in the second of the Lectures on Faith: “We here observe that God is the only supreme governor, and independent being, in whom all fulness and perfection dwells; who is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient; without beginning of days or end of life; and that in him every good gift, and every good principle dwells; and that he is the Father of lights; In him the principle of faith dwells independently; and he is the object in whom the faith of all other rational and accountable beings centers, for life and salvation.” [37] In his commentary on this passage Elder Bruce R. McConkie writes, “This includes the fact that the faith of Christ, who is God, is centered in his God, who is the Father.” [38]

A third nuance for understanding the “faith of Christ” also comes from the Lectures on Faith. This aspect has not been considered by scholars but makes a significant contribution to our understanding of being justified by the “faith of Christ.” The first lecture declares that “faith is not only the principle of action, but of power, also, in all intelligent beings, whether in heaven, or on earth.” [39] It then quotes Hebrews 11:3, saying, “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” Then we find the following commentary:

By this we understand that the principle of power, which existed in the bosom of God, by which the worlds were framed, was faith; and that it is by reason of this principle of power, existing in the Deity, that all created things exist—so that all things in heaven, on earth, or under the earth, exist by reason of faith, as it existed in HIM.

Had it not been for the principle of faith the worlds would never have been framed, neither would man have been formed of the dust—it is the principle by which Jehovah works, and through which he exercises power over all temporal, as well as eternal things. Take this principle or attribute, (for it is an attribute) from the Deity and he would cease to exist.

Who cannot see, that if God framed the worlds by faith, that it is by faith that he exercises power over them, and that faith is the principle of power? And thus if the principle of power, it must be so in man as well as in the Deity? This is the testimony of all the sacred writers, and the lesson which they have been endeavoring to teach to man. [40]

In the seventh lecture, we also read, “No world has yet been framed that was not framed by faith; neither has there been an intelligent being on any of God’s creations who did not get there by reason of faith, as it existed in himself or in some other being; nor has there been a change or a revolution in any of the creations of God but it has been effected by faith: neither will there be a change or a revolution unless it is effected in the same way, in any of the vast creations of the Almighty; for it is by faith that the Deity works.” [41]

This faith, the power by which Deity works, is not the faith articulated by Aquinas. Neither is it a nuance of faith mentioned in the first two instances. The faith of Christ, then, can also refer to the very power by which He created and maintains the world. Thus, His faith provides the environment in which individuals can gain the righteousness they need to dwell in the presence of God. The value of this statement is that it changes the parameters which have stymied the debate. Scholars have restricted their discussion to how faith applies to the mortal Jesus rather than the divine Christ, even though they have noted that Paul speaks of God’s faith in Romans 3:3.

Faith of Christ in Pauline Theology

The limitations of this chapter do not allow a detailed review of all of the permutations of the debate over the faith of Christ. I will attempt, therefore, to highlight some of the salient arguments for a faith-of-Christ interpretation in Paul’s theology. In doing so, I will confine my remarks primarily to Paul’s epistles to the Galatians and the Romans. [42] Most of the debated passages come from these two epistles, and it is here that Paul develops his understanding of justification. In both epistles, the context is a debate between Paul and his opponents over the place of the works of the law (of Moses) in Christian salvation. Also, in both texts, Paul centers his arguments on two Old Testament proof texts: “The righteous [MT s addîq; LXX ho dikaios] shall live by his faith” (Habbakuk 2:4; author’s translation), and “He [Abraham] believed/had faith [MT he’emin; LXX episteusen] in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness” (Genesis 15:6; author’s translation).

Faith of Christ in Galatians. Paul writes to the Galatians because certain Christian missionaries had come to Galatia after Paul left and were teaching that the gentile members of the Church still had to live the law of Moses. When Paul hears news of what is taking place, he responds with an epistle. He reminds his readers that he had once “profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers” (Galatians 1:14). He knew the requirements of the law of Moses. If any human could have been justified by it, Paul would have, but he knew that despite all of his efforts, he still lacked the righteousness he needed. The incident in Antioch when Peter and Barnabas stopped eating with Gentiles when “certain [men] came from James” (Galatians 2:11–14) crystallized in Paul’s mind that righteousness or justification could not be attained by worrying about issues of table fellowship or circumcision (see Galatians 5:1–12) or observing holy days (see Galatians 4:10–11). [43] In Paul’s day, these activities were viewed as the identifying marks of a follower of Judaism. [44] Justification transcends such practices.

But what does Paul juxtapose with the “works of the law”? It is important to be clear on this issue. Is it the faith that the believers have in Christ, or is it the faith of Christ? Dunn argues that it “is most naturally understood as Paul’s way of posing the alternatives on the human side.” [45] In other words, Paul contrasts the believer’s works with the believer’s faith. Galatians 2:21, however, indicates that Paul is contrasting something else. “I do not set aside [atheteō] the grace of God: for if righteousness/justification [dikaiosunē] come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain” (author’s translation). Here the juxtaposition for receiving justification is between the law and Christ, not between works and faith. [46] It is Christ’s actions, not the believer’s, that Paul emphasizes. The point of this verse is that justification comes through Christ’s death. It is Christ’s death that is the quintessential example of the faith mentioned in verses 16 and 20, by which Paul lives.

It is in this context that Paul shifts, in chapter 3, his emphasis to the example of Abraham. Abraham knew nothing of the law because he lived centuries before Moses came to Mount Sinai; yet his faith in God “was accounted to him for righteousness” (Galatians 3:6; compare Genesis 15:6; Romans 4:3). Likewise, all those who “are of faith” are considered the children of Abraham (Galatians 3:7). Paul’s conclusion is “that no man is made righteous/justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: The just [ho dikaios] shall live by faith” (Galatians 3:11; author’s translation; compare Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17). By quoting Habakkuk 4:2, Paul makes a subtle shift in his logic. Whereas in verse 7 he spoke of the children of Abraham, he now shifts to Abraham’s quintessential descendant: Jesus Christ. Hays has shown that the Septuagint has interpreted Habakkuk 2:4 messianically. [47] In addition, we know that the righteous (ho dikaios) was a common messianic title. [48] Paul, therefore, interprets Habakkuk’s statement to be that Christ is the just person. He lives by overcoming death and is able to do so because of His faith. Lest there was any doubt in the readers’ minds that this was how he interpreted the Habakkuk passage, Paul says, “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ” (Galatians 3:16). As Morna Hooker has argued, “Since in v. 7 the one thing that we are told about Abraham’s sons was that they had faith, it seems logically necessary to affirm that Christ also had faith.” [49]

In this context we find another one of the controversial genitive constructions in verse 22: “But the scripture hath concluded all are under sin, that the promise, on the grounds of faith of Jesus Christ, is given to those who have faith” (author’s translation). [50] The promise clearly refers to the one given to Abraham that “in thee shall all the nations be blessed” (Galatians 3:8; see also Genesis 18:18). Paul’s point is that this “promise is now ratified on the basis of Christ’s faith.” [51] It is ratified because Christ is the embodiment of faith. In fact, in the next verse, Paul equates Christ with faith. “Before faith [Christ] came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed” (Galatians 3:23). [52] At this juncture, Paul makes another transition. “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith” (v. 24). Note that in this instance, unlike verse 22, Paul does not qualify whose faith will do the justifying. The emphasis in the previous verses had been on Christ’s faith, but in verse 26 there is a shift to the faith that believers have in Christ. [53] Verse 24 acts as a transition between these two ideas and reminds us that justification requires both the faith of Christ and of the believer. The point that Paul is trying to teach is grounded in his own experience. Once believers begin to trust in the faith of Christ, rather than the works of the law, Christ becomes a part of who they are. Thus, Paul declares, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:29).

Faith of Christ in Romans. Although in Romans Paul picks up many of the concepts introduced in Galatians and develops them, it was written for a very different reason. Paul writes this epistle as he prepares to take the collection to Jerusalem (see Romans 15:25–33). He sees the collection as a means of drawing together the rift that was developing between the Gentile and Jewish portions of the Church (see Romans 15:26–27). It is clear from the epistle that the Roman church consists of both groups, who are struggling to coexist in harmony. In other words, to some extent, the Roman church was a microcosm of what was happening in the global Church. As Paul prepares to embark on his voyage to Jerusalem, he writes to the Roman church asking for their help. He specifically asks for their prayers on his behalf because he fears that the collection will not be accepted (see Romans 15:30–31). But there is a sense that Paul needs more from the Saints at Rome. He pleads with them to overcome the rifts that divide them. Why was this important before he arrived in Jerusalem? Because he needed a positive example that Jews and Gentiles could live in harmony in the Church. It is in this context that the pistis Christou passages in Romans must be understood.

Here I would like to address two passages that, in my mind, are persuasive arguments for a subjective understanding for the pistis Christou constructions. First, we must examine Paul’s programmatic statement in Romans 1:16–17. He states, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith [ek pisteōs].” According to Douglas Campbell, verse 17 is the interpretive core for Paul’s use of pistis Christou in this epistle, [54] but it must be read in the context of verse 16. The Habakkuk passage at the end of verse 17 is Paul’s scriptural proof text that the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith.

The phrase “righteousness of God” is common in Romans. In this epistle it refers to “God’s faithfulness in keeping His promise to Abraham.” In both Romans and Galatians, the promise to Abraham is that through him shall all the nations of the earth be blessed. [55] We learn from 3:25 that Christ’s redemption declares this righteousness to those who have sinned. In particular, Romans 3:22 highlights its important relationship with pistis Christou. In 1:17 the righteousness of God is revealed “from faith to faith.” Campbell shows that Paul’s use of the phrase “from faith” (ek pisteōs) is motivated by his messianic understanding of Habakkuk 2:4. He only uses this phrase in Romans and Galatians where he quotes Habakkuk 2:4. [56] Therefore, we should understand Romans 1:17 to mean that the righteousness of God is revealed from Christ’s faith to faith, where the latter is a reference to the believer’s faith. [57] It is Christ’s faith that gives substance and efficacy to the believer’s faith. Thus, God’s righteousness is made manifest to all by Christ’s faith (supply any or all of the three meanings here), and because of His faith both Jew and Greek have access to salvation if they have faith (in Him) (see v. 16). In other words, we find stated specifically in Romans 1:16–17 the interpretation that we presented in Galatians.

The second pericope of scripture in Romans that I would like to discuss is Romans 3:21–31. In this passage, we have two occurrences of the genitive construction, one in verse 22 and another in verse 26. Again, we find Paul’s theological reaction to the belief that works of the law can establish righteousness. As with Romans 1:17, we again have a clear link between the righteousness of God and faith. In verse 20 Paul makes it clear that no one can become righteous in God’s sight through works because “by the law is the knowledge of sin.” Because of the law, we know that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (v. 23).

Paul contrasts this sin with the righteousness of God. Israel had failed to live the law, but that did not negate God’s righteousness or His faithfulness in blessing all the nations of the earth. As Williams has shown, verses 21 and 22 should be read together. “But now the righteousness of God without the law has been manifested (verb is a perfect tense; pephanerōtai), being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is [dia pisteōs Iēsou Christou] unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference” (author’s translation). In verse 22 the Greek has no verb. The KJV supplies “which is” (hence the italics). If we see the verb in verse 21 also governing verse 22, then it would read, “Even the righteousness of God has been manifested through the faith of Jesus Christ.” As we saw in Galatians, again here we see that “the contrast between Romans 3:20 and 3:21–22 is not between two types of human initiative, two categories of human endeavor—obey Law or have faith. The contrast is rather between a human endeavor and a possibility that comes from beyond, a new possibility that ‘comes’ with Christ.” [58] This reading is verified by verse 24, where Paul teaches that “being justified” comes about “through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”

Verses 25–26 are a further discussion of this theme. Why does being made righteous (justified) come about through Christ’s redemption? Because God “hath set [him] forth to be an atoning sacrifice (hilastērion), through [the] faith (dia [tēs] pisteōs), [59] by means of his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God” (author’s translation). The verb translated as “set forth” is the aorist form of protithēmi. It also carries the sense of “to present” and may hearken back to the Council in Heaven when the plan was presented that Christ would come to redeem the world. Another nuance is “to expose to danger,” which points the reader to the fact that the sacrifice would require His blood. The flow of this verse requires that the faith mentioned belongs to Christ. It is the three-fold characteristic of Christ’s sacrifice, faith, and blood that make redemption possible. If the faith mentioned here referred to that of the believer, or even to that of God, it would “break apart the . . . cohesive unit.” [60]

Verse 26 is the one place where the King James translators choose, following Tyndale, to translate the phrase as an objective genitive. [61] “To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just and the justifier ton ek pisteōs Iēsou.” How should we read this last phrase? The KJV has “of him which believeth in Jesus.” In the next chapter, Paul uses a very similar construction in reference to Abraham, tō ek pisteōs Abraam. In that case the phrase clearly refers to Abraham’s faith. If Paul is using these phrases to convey the same meaning, then Romans 3:26 should read, “To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just and the justifier of the one who is of the faith of Jesus.” In other words, he imputes righteousness to the person, either Jew or Gentile, who has tapped into Christ’s faith. This reading fits well with the overall context of verses 21–26, where the spotlight is on Christ’s faith as the great exemplar of God’s fidelity to the Abrahamic promise to bless all the nations of the earth.

I have argued that in both Galatians and Romans, a subjective reading of pistis Christou is not only possible, but it is consistent with Paul’s message. Even one of the strongest opponents against the subjective reading, Dunn, concedes the following: “I should make it clear that the theology of the subjective genitive reading is powerful, important and attractive. For anyone who wishes to take the humanness of Jesus with full seriousness ‘the faith of Jesus’ strikes a strong and resonant chord. Moreover, as a theological motif, it seems to me wholly compatible with Paul’s theology.” [62] The question, therefore, remains: why is the subjective reading so unpalatable to many?

The Theological Implications of the Faith-of-Christ Debate

When Martin Luther translated the New Testament and came across the pistis Christou phrases, he left no room for ambiguity. He translated them as Glaube an (faith in) Christ. As noted earlier, the majority of English translations, with the exception of the King James Version, have followed his lead. The result has been that justification has been viewed from an anthropological perspective rather than a Christological one. In other words, justification has been understood as a function of human belief in isolation from the pivotal role played by the Savior. The emphasis has been on what humans do to bring about their salvation, rather than emphasizing what Christ has done. Thus, J. Louis Martyn, who limits the faith of Christ to His death, writes: “The result of this [subjective genitive] interpretation of pistis Christou is crucial to an understanding . . . of the whole of Paul’s theology. God has set things right without laying down a prior condition of any sort. God’s rectifying act [that is, justification], that is to say, is no more God’s response to human faith in Christ than it is God’s response to human observance of the Law. God’s [justification] is not God’s response at all. It is the first move; it is God’s initiative, carried out by him in Christ’s faithful death.” [63]

Unfortunately, as the debate has progressed, the issue seems to be devolving into a debate over theological presuppositions of each of the authors; what R. Barry Matlock identifies as a clash between a “Lutheran” interpretation of Paul and “a sort of hyper-Protestantism,” where the latter see faith in Christ as a type of work. [64] Typical of the “hyper- Protestantism” is the following from Greer M. Taylor:

I believe the substance of [Paul’s] teaching to be that man is saved by Christ’s work and by Christ’s work alone, and circumcision or any other work of the law is theologically objectionable because it implies that Christ’s work is insufficient and needs to be complemented. From this point of view a system of justification simply by faith in Christ is also objectionable, as assigning to man too much of a function and to Christ too little: it simply substitutes the mental act of having faith for the bodily one of being circumcised as a precondition of salvation, and (so far as the mechanism of justification is concerned) leaves Christ in the passive role of being the object of our justifying faith. [65]

Perhaps Paul Pollard is correct when he opines, “Pistis Christou will continue to be a ‘cipher’ into which we pour our own ideas.” [66]

Even so, I believe that understanding the debate is useful for Latter-day Saints. We use the King James Version as the English-language Bible of the Church. We have all read the passages that the KJV translates as “faith of Christ.” Yet, how often have we read the words “faith of Christ” but interpreted them as “faith in Christ”? [67] Let me stress that I am not trying to negate either the importance of the believer having faith in Christ or the necessity of good works. Both are crucial elements in the process of salvation. I am simply suggesting there is another important layer of interpretation going on in these verses that too often is overlooked. Primarily we are justified by Christ’s faith: His trust in His Father and His plan, His faithfulness in carrying out His part of that plan, and the ultimate power by which He and His Father work.

Latter-day Saints should also be aware that the impact of this debate is not just limited to the Bible. In the Book of Mormon, we have thirty-five references to “faith in” God, Christ, or “his name,” but we also find six references to “the faith of Christ.” [68] The question is, how should we interpret these six passages? Should we automatically interpret these six verses as meaning “faith in Christ”? It appears that the Book of Mormon is also making a distinction between “faith in Christ” and “the faith of Christ.” The issue in interpreting the latter phrase in the Book of Mormon is complicated not by the genitive construction but by the meaning of the word “faith.” For example, there are numerous references where the genitive construction speaks of the faith of people other than Christ and which should clearly be understood as subjective genitives (for example, Alma 48:16; 57:27; Ether 12:8, 13–15; Moroni 10:7). In these passages, synonyms for “faith” would be “belief” or “trust.” There is another example where the “faith of God” refers to His faithfulness or reliability (Alma 44:4; compare Romans 3:3). In addition, there is also one example of a genitive construction, “the faith of Nehor” (Alma 14:16), where “faith” refers to a system of belief, rather than either faithfulness or reliability. We must determine which of these meanings apply in “the faith of Christ” passages in the Book of Mormon.

Helaman 3:35 reads, “Nevertheless they [the humble members of the church who were being persecuted] . . . did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God.” Should we understand the phrase “the faith of Christ” in this passage objectively or subjectively? Certainly there is a sense that the Saints had faith that enabled them to yield their hearts to God. [69] But whose faith enabled them to be sanctified? Is it their faith? Or is it Christ’s? I am suggesting that ultimately it is Christ’s faith that sanctifies the Saints.

The remaining Book of Mormon examples highlight that there are significant consequences for whether or not an individual taps into the faith of Christ. In each of these cases, “faith” may be understood as “a system of belief” that belongs to Christ, similar to what we saw in Alma 14:6. I am suggesting, however, that we may gain an additional layer of understanding if we also read them through the lens that helps us see there is power available to people through Christ’s faith.

Jarom reports that even though the Lamanites were “exceedingly more numerous” than the Nephites and came to battle against them, their kings and leaders “were mighty men in the faith of the Lord; and they taught the people the ways of the Lord” (Jarom 1:6–7). Where did the power of the Nephite kings and leaders come from? Was it from their faith in the Lord, or was it because of the faith of the Lord? In this passage we may profitably understand the faith of the Lord as the divine power by which He works.

Captain Moroni informed his charges that if they did not “stand fast in the faith of Christ,” they would perish even as Joseph of Egypt’s garment perished at the hands of his brethren (Alma 46:23–27). In contrast, Mormon says, “Those who died in the faith of Christ are happy in him, as we must needs suppose” (Alma 46:41).

In addition, two Book of Mormon passages describe individuals who are “firm in the faith of Christ.” The people of Ammon are described as follows: “And they were among the people of Nephi, and also numbered among the people who were of the Church of God. And they were also distinguished for their zeal towards God, and also towards men; for they were perfectly honest and upright in all things; and they were firm in the faith of Christ, even unto the end” (Alma 27:27). Mormon described Captain Moroni as “a man who was firm in the faith of Christ, and he had sworn with an oath to defend his people, his rights, and his country, and his religion, even to the loss of blood” (Alma 48:13). Unlike the passage in Helaman 3:35, which also mentions being firm in the faith of Christ, these two passages make no mention of the salvific power of sanctification. Nevertheless, it is possible to understand these passages to mean that the people of Ammon and Captain Moroni were sustained during the difficult times of war by a power that was made available to them because of Christ’s faith.

There is no doubt that each of these individuals had faith in Christ. We are told specifically in Alma 25:16 that the people of Ammon supposed that “the law of Moses did serve to strengthen their faith in Christ.” [70] Likewise, Captain Moroni informed Zarahemnah that his people had successfully surrounded the Lamanite army “because of our religion and our faith in Christ” (Alma 44:3). Yet the passages under examination do not say that they were “firm(er) in their faith in Christ,” but rather that they were “firm(er) in the faith of Christ.” A distinction is being made here. It is subtle, but it is important. The question is this, is their faith independent of, or dependent upon, the faith of Christ?


In this paper, I have argued that there is good reason to acknowledge that Christ has faith, though not in the sense of Aquinas’s limited definition or in the sense of confessional faith. Christ’s faith is trust in His Father and the plan of salvation and fidelity in carrying out His part of the plan; it is the power by which Jehovah works. In making this argument, it is not my intent to undermine the importance of a believer having faith in Christ. Rather, my intent is to highlight the centrality of Christ in all aspects of salvation. In Paul’s theology, Christ’s faith is a foundational element in the process of justification. We receive righteousness because of that faith. In the Book of Mormon, the faith of Christ is not specifically linked with justification, but it is the basis of power that enables righteous individuals to endure persecution and overcome adversarial forces that seek to destroy the kingdom of God. This is just one more aspect where Christ has set the example for us to follow. As believers we can have faith in Christ because of His faith. In contrast to Thomas Aquinas, Elder McConkie taught, “To be saved is to be like Christ, inheriting, receiving, and possessing as he does. To gain salvation is to grow in faith until we have the faith of Christ and thus are like him. Our nearness to him and to salvation is measured by the degree of our faith. To gain faith is to attain the power of Christ, which is God’s power. To believe in Christ in the full and true sense is to ‘have the mind of Christ’ (1 Corinthians 2:16), that is, to believe what he believes, think what he thinks, say what he says, and do what he does. It is to be one with him by the power of the Holy Ghost.” [71]


I am grateful for the wonderful contribution of Robert J. Matthews throughout his career. I joined the faculty after Brother Matthews retired, but I have had a number of opportunities to be taught by him that have had a profound impact on my understanding of the gospel. During the winter semester of 2004, I attended a faculty doctrinal seminar that Brother Matthews led. During that seminar we discussed the Lectures on Faith. The topic of this paper is an outgrowth of a conversation we had during those discussions.

[1] For a summary of the history of the debate, see Paul Pollard, “The ‘Faith of Christ’ in Current Discussion,” Concordia Journal 23, no. 3 (July 1997): 213–28.

[2] Ephesians 3:12 is usually not counted in this list because many scholars do not consider Ephesians to be an authentic Pauline epistle. Paul Foster, however, has recently shown that it is a pivotal passage for the ongoing debate (see “The First Contribution to the πίστις Χριστου Debate: A Study of Ephesians 3.12,” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 24, no. 85 [March 2002]: 75–96).

[3] The various titles include Iēsou Christou (Jesus Christ; Romans 3:22; Galatians 3:22), Iēsou (Jesus; Romans 3:26), Christou (Christ; Philippians 3:9), Christou Iēsou (Christ Jesus; Galatians 2:16), tou huiou tou theou (the Son of God; Galatians 2:20), or autou (his, referring to Christ; Ephesians 3:12). For ease of expression, when I refer to this concept, I will simply use the phrase “faith of Christ.”

[4] Richard B. Hays, “ΠΙΣΤΙΣ and Pauline Christology: What Isat Stake?” in SBL 1991 Seminar Papers, ed. David J. Lull (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1991), 715.

[5] So also the Wycliff Bible (AD 1382), the Darby Translation (AD 1890). The Tyndale New Testament (AD 1526), on which the King James Translators relied heavily, also translates Romans 3:26 as an objective genitive: “to shewe at this tyme: the rightewesnes that is alowed off hym, that he myght be counted iuste, and a iustifiar of hym which belevith on Jesus.” In contrast to the KJV, it does the same with Philippians 3:9: “And myght be founde in hym nott havynge myne awne rightewesnes which is off the lawe: But that which spryngeth off the fayth which is in Christ. I mean the rightewesnes which cometh of God throwe fayth.”

[6] See Scott H. Faulring, Kent P. Jackson, and Robert J. Matthews, eds., Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible: Original Manuscripts (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2004), 480–83, 514–23; or Thomas A. Wayment, ed., The Complete Joseph Smith Translation of the New Testament: A Side-by-Side Comparison with the King James Version (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2005), 256, 278–83.

[7] I looked at the Amplified Bible (sometimes uses “faith on Christ” [Romans 3:22], which has the same sense as “faith in Christ”), Contemporary English Bible, New American Bible, New American Standard Bible, New King James Version, New International Reader’s Version, New International Version, New Life Version, New Living Bible (with the exception of Philippians 9, which skirts the issue by reading, “For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith”), Revised Standard Version, New Revised Standard Version, Worldwide English (New Testament) (again, with the exception of Philippians 9: “I want to be put right with God through faith alone”).

[8] An extensive review of all of the nuances of the debate is beyond the scope of this paper.

[9] J. Louis Martyn, in his commentary on Galatians, has chosen therefore to use the noun rectification for dikaiosunē and the verb rectified for dikaioō. His reasoning is cogent: “To render the verb with the English expression ‘to justify’ while translating the noun as ‘righteousness’—the most common way of proceeding—is to lose the linguistic connection that was both obvious and important to Paul” (Galatians: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary, Anchor Bible, vol. 33A [New York: Doubleday, 1997], 249).

[10] John F. MacArthur Jr., Faith Works: The Gospel According to the Apostles (Dallas: Word, 1993), 89.

[11] Martin Abegg claimed that Paul’s argument against those who seek for righteousness in the “works of the law” in Galatians and Romans was “rebutting the theology of documents such as MMT” (a Dead Sea Scrolls document) and “that Paul was reacting to the kind of theology espoused by MMT, perhaps even by some Christian converts who were committed to the kind of thinking reflected in MMT” (Martin Abegg, “Paul, ‘Works of the Law’ and MMT,” Biblical Archaeology Review 20, no. 6 [1994]: 52–55). See also James D. G. Dunn, “4QMMT and Galatians,” New Testament Studies 43 (1997): 147–53. He notes that in both MMT and Paul the “works of the law” are “understood as defining a boundary which marks out those of faith/faithfulness from others” (151).

[12] 4QMMT also has the sense that righteousness is reckoned (tḥšb) according to the works of the law (Dunn, “4QMMT and Galatians,” 151–52).

[13] Arland J. Hultgren, “The Pistis Christou Formulation in Paul,” Novum Testamentum 22, no. 3 (July 1980): 253; and James D. G. Dunn, “Once More, ΠΙΣΤΙΣ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΥ,” in SBL 1991 Seminar Papers, ed. David J. Lull (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1991), 732–34. This rule, by Hultgren, is limited to pistis constructions because in Romans 1:18, Paul uses the genitive construction “wrath of God.” The context shows that it is clearly a subjective genitive, but there is no definite article.

[14] Contrast Philippians 3:8, where the genitive construction “the knowledge of Christ Jesus” has a definite article, but the phrase clearly should be read as an objective genitive.

[15] Hultgren, “Pistis Christou,” 253.

[16] Sam K. Williams, “Again Pistis Christou,” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 49 (1987): 432.

[17] In Williams’s article, he mistakenly cites Romans 1:16 and 3:20.

[18] Williams, “Again Pistis Christou,” 432–33.

[19] Pollard, “The ‘Faith of Christ,’” 224.

[20] Dunn, “Once More,” 732.

[21] Dunn, “Once More,” 732–34.

[22] An important early manuscript, P47, has the genitive construction in this verse (dia pisteōs Christou). I think that in this instance, however, the context demands an objective genitive reading. The next verse talks of the believers’ baptism and indicates that the faith, in this instance, refers to the believer, a sense reflected in the Greek of the other manuscripts. Contrary to Dunn’s criticism of Hays, I am not driven to see the subjective reading as the only way to interpret the genitive construction (Dunn, “Once More,” 736).

[23] Dunn says, “The difficulty of course is precisely that all [these] instances of the ‘in’ phrase belong to the deutero-Pauline corpus and thus provide no evidence of Paul’s own usage or of usage current at the time of Paul” (“Once More,” 734).

[24] George Howard appeals to the Old Testament Apocrypha, the Greek Pseudepigrapha, Philo, and Josephus. He argues that pistis with the personal genitive only appears rarely, “but when it does appear it is almost always followed by the non-objective genitive” (“The ‘Faith of Christ,’” The Expository Times 85, no. 7 [1974]: 213). Roy A. Harrisville III examines the issue in the early Church Fathers. He finds that “if one is to use the witness of the Fathers on one or the other side of this debate, it must be used on the objective side” (“ΠΙΣΤΙΣ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΥ: Witness of the Fathers,” Novum Testamentum 36, no. 3 [1994]: 233–41). Greer M. Taylor argues that Paul’s use of pistis Christou in Galatians is equivalent to the fidei commissum of Roman law (“The Function of ΠΙΣΤΙΣ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΥ in Galatians,” Journal of Biblical Literature 85, no. 1 [1966]: 58–76). See also D. W. B. Robinson, “‘Faith of Jesus Christ’—A New Testament Debate,” Reformed Theological Review 29, no. 3 (1970): 71–81; David M. Hay, “Pistis As ‘Ground for Faith’ In Hellenized Judaism and Paul,” Journal of Biblical Literature 108, no. 3 (1989): 461–76; Ian G. Wallis, The Faith of Jesus Christ in Early Christian Traditions, Society for New Testament Studies Monograph Series, vol. 84 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 9–23; John Dunnill, “Saved by Whose Faith? The Function of πίστις χριστου In Pauline Theology,” Colloquium: The Australian and New Zealand Theological Review 30, no. 1 (1998): 5–6; R. Barry Matlock, “Detheologizing the ΠΙΣΤΙΣ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΥ Debate: Cautionary Remarks From a Lexical Semantic Perspective,” Novum Testamentum 42, no. 1 (2000): 1–23.

[25] Sam K. Williams notes that, “(Excluding the phrase pistis Christou) pistis is followed by the genitive of person or personal pronoun twenty-four times in the Pauline corpus. Twenty times this construction refers to the faith of Christians, once to the fidelity of God (Romans 3:3), twice to the faith of Abraham (Romans 4:12, 16) and once to anyone who believes upon God (Romans 4:5). In all these cases the phrase refers to the faith of the person, not to faith in him” (“The ‘Righteousness of God’ in Romans,” Journal of Biblical Literature 99, no. 2 [1980]: 273).

[26] Hays, “ΠΙΣΤΙΣ,” 717, n. 9.

[27] Dunn, “Once More,” 734–35.

[28] “Paul’s point is so important that he surely would have taken care to avoid unnecessary ambiguity; had he meant “faith in Christ” he would have used a preposition to say that clearly. The deliberateness of his shift in construction warrants the conclusion that he wishes to differentiate between pistis Christou and pisteuein eis Christon. ‘The passage literally says that we believe in Christ in order that we might be justified by the faith of Christ’” (Williams, “The ‘Righteousness of God,’” 274; italics in original).

[29] Sam K. Williams, “The Hearing of Faith: AKOH ПIΣTEΩΣ in Galatians 3,” New Testament Studies 35, no. 1 (1989): 89.

[30] Dunn, “Once More,” 737.

[31] Dunnill, “Saved by Whose Faith?” 6.

[32] Dunnill, “Saved by Whose Faith?” 6.

[33] Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, 3a.7.3, (in Liam G. Walsh, trans., The Grace of Christ [3a 7–15], vol. 49 of St Thomas Aquinas Summa Theologiæ [New York: McGraw-Hill, 1974], 14–15).

[34] These nuances of faith are also applicable to the faith that we have in Christ. See Robert L. Millet, “The Doctrine of Faith,” in The Book of Mormon: The Foundation of Our Faith: The 28th Annual Sidney B. Sperry Symposium (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1999), 13–23.

[35] Dunn, “Once More,” 737.

[36] Hays, “ΠΙΣΤΙΣ,” 715. See also Luke Timothy Johnson, “Rom 3:21–26 and the Faith of Jesus,” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 44, no. 1 (1982): 77–90.

[37] “Theology,” in Doctrine and Covenants of the Church of the Latter Day Saints (Kirtland, OH: F. G. Williams and Co., 1835), 17 (lecture 2, paragraph 2); emphasis added. For discussions on the authorship of the Lectures on Faith, see Larry E. Dahl, “Authorship and History of the Lectures on Faith,” in The Lectures on Faith in Historical Perspective, ed. Larry E. Dahl and Charles D. Tate Jr. (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1990), 1–21; Noel B. Reynolds, “The Authorship Debate Concerning Lectures on Faith: Exhumation and Reburial,” in The Disciple as Witness: Essays on Latter-day Saint History and Doctrine in Honor of Richard Lloyd Anderson, ed. Stephen D. Ricks, Donald W. Parry, and Andrew H. Hedges (Provo, UT: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 2000), 355–82; and Reynolds, “The Case for Sidney Rigdon as Author of the Lectures on Faith,” Journal of Mormon History 31, no. 3 (Fall 2005): 1–41. See also Leland H. Gentry, “What of the Lectures on Faith?” BYU Studies 19, no. 1 (1978): 5–19.

[38] Bruce R. McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1985), 52.

[39] “Theology,” 7 (lecture 1, paragraph 13).

[40] “Theology,” 7–8 (lecture 1, paragraphs 15–17).

[41] “Theology,” 63 (lecture 7, paragraph 2).

[42] Taylor has shown that the statistical linking of faith, law, and righteousness is higher in Romans and Galatians than in any other Pauline epistle (“The Function of ΠΙΣΤΙΣ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΥ,” 59–61). He does not, however, include Ephesians in his analysis. For a discussion of how the faith of Christ fits in the theology of Ephesians, see Foster, “The First Contribution,” 75–96.

[43] The issue of whether Gentiles should live by the law of Moses was the basis of the Jerusalem Council. Robert J. Matthews has written a number of articles on the Jerusalem Council. See Matthews, Behold the Messiah: New Testament Insights from Latterday Revelation (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1994), 301–9; Matthews, “The Jerusalem Council,” in The Apostle Paul: His Life and His Testimony: The 1994 Sperry Symposium on the New Testament (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1994), 96–109; Matthews, “A Crisis, a Council, and Inspired Leadership,” Ensign, October 1995, 54–59.

[44] James D. G. Dunn, “The New Perspective on Paul,” Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester 65, no. 2 (1983): 107–8.

[45] Dunn, “Once More,” 738–39.

[46] Charles H. Cosgrove comes to the same conclusion, but through linguistic means (see “Justification in Paul: A Linguistic and Theological Reflection,” Journal of Biblical Literature 106, no. 4 [1987]: 661). See also Dunnill, “Saved By Whose Faith?” 17; Sigve Tonstad, “πιστις Χριστου: Reading Paul in a New Paradigm” Andrews University Seminary Studies 40, no. 1 (2002): 49.

[47] Richard B. Hays, The Faith of Jesus Christ: An Investigation of the Narrative Substructure of Galatians 3:1–4:11, Society of Biblical Literature Dissertation Series, vol. 56 (Chico, CA: Scholars Press, 1983), 151–56. In the Masoretic text the phrase does not have a definite article and could also be read as “a righteous person shall live by faith.” By adding the definite article, the Septuagint translators limit it to a single righteous individual. See also the discussion by Douglas A. Campbell, “Romans 1:17—A Crux Interpretum for the ΠΙΣΤΙΣ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΥ Debate,” Journal of Biblical Literature 113, no. 2 (1994): 281–85.

[48] Hays, “ΠΙΣΤΙΣ,” 719. See also Moses 7:47; Dunnill, “Saved by Whose Faith?” 6–9.

[49] Morna D. Hooker, “ΠΙΣΤΙΣ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΥ,” New Testament Studies 35, no. 3 (1989): 328.

[50] Hooker, “ΠΙΣΤΙΣ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΥ,” 329.

[51] Hooker, “ΠΙΣΤΙΣ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΥ,” 329.

[52] Hung-Sik Choi, “ΠΙΣΤΙΣ in Galatians 5:5–6: Neglected Evidence for the Faithfulness of Christ,” Journal of Biblical Literature 124, no. 3 (2005): 472–77.

[53] In contrast to Choi, “ΠΙΣΤΙΣ in Galatians 5:5–6,” 477–78.

[54] Campbell, “Romans 1:17,” 265–85.

[55] Williams, “The ‘Righteousness of God,’” 241–90.

[56] Campbell, “Romans 1:17,” 268.

[57] Dunnill argues that the ek pisteōs in Romans 1:17 refers to God’s faith (“Saved by Whose Faith?” 7), but given its relationship with Habakkuk 2:4, I think that it is more specifically referring to Christ’s faith. See Campbell, “Romans 1:17,” 277–81.

[58] Williams, “The ‘Righteousness of God,’” 276.

[59] The manuscript evidence is divided over whether or not there should be a definite article.

[60] Bruce W. Longenecker, “ПІΣΤІΣ In Romans 3:25: Neglected Evidence for the ‘Faithfulness of Christ’?” New Testament Studies 39 (1993): 478–80.

[61] See note 5 for the Tyndale translation.

[62] Dunn, “Once More,” 744.

[63] Martyn, Galatians, 271.

[64] R. Barry Matlock, “‘Even the Demons Believe’: Paul and πίστις Χριστου ,” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 64, no. 2 (2002): 312.

[65] Taylor, “The Function of ΠΙΣΤΙΣ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΥ,” 75.

[66] Pollard, “The ‘Faith of Christ,’” 228.

[67] For example, notice how Stephen E. Robinson quotes Galatians 2:16, “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of [in] Jesus Christ, . . . that we might be justified by the faith of [in] Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified” (Believing Christ: The Parable of the Bicycle and Other Good News [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1992], 41). Thus Robinson sees “faith in” and “faith of” Christ as synonymous phrases. To be fair to him, though, he would argue for the centrality of Christ in the process of justification.

[68] The Doctrine and Covenants has only one mention of “faith in” (D&C 3:20) and no references to “faith of.”

[69] Joseph Fielding McConkie and Robert L. Millet interpret this passage in the following way: “As a result of the pain and affliction, these Saints fasted and prayed much, which resulted in greater faith in Christ, which in turn filled their souls with joy and consolation. Even amidst affliction, firm faith in Christ—nurtured and strengthened through fasting and prayer—brings ‘the peaceable things of the kingdom’ (see D&C 36:2; 42:61). It is this peace and joy the Savior promised to give those who faithfully seek it (see John 14:27)” (Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon: Volume III–Alma through Helaman [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1991], 344; emphasis added).

[70] Alma 25:16 actually talks about the Lamanites who joined with the people of Anti-Nephi-Lehi, but by the time they came to the land of Jershon, they were all identified by that name.

[71] McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, 206–7.