Lost in Translation: Was Abraham’s Faith “Counted as Righteousness”?

In Romans 4:3 Paul quotes Genesis 15:6 about the “faith of Abraham,” being “reckoned” as “righteousness,” which is a meaning quite opposite to the original context and literal Hebrew phrasing. And yet, this along with Romans 1:17, are the TWO PILLAR texts of his entire understanding of what he calls “his Gospel.” He uses both to support the same point–that all human beings are hopeless lost in sin, there are none considered righteousness before God, and that only through the blood of Jesus as a sacrifice for the sins of humankind, can one find forgiveness.

The understanding of a “righteous person” in the Hebrew Bible includes plenty of grace and forgiveness, but is quite opposite from the view Paul puts forth in Romans and Galatians.

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