Brother Jeffrey,

I hope you have time to answer.

I was speaking with a Pentecostal fellow who tried to redefine righteousness as sadaca (giving) from the Old Testament. I knew this was wrong but didn't have a great answer. I thought about Romans 1:16-17,  the passage he was trying to redefine. Is the passage teaching us that the righteousness of God, meaning what is right before God, is revealed in the man who obeys the Gospel? It is my assumption that the Hebrew word sadaca is not used in the New Testament since it was written in Greek. Is the New Testament word for giving in Greek translated from sadaca?

Any help or teaching would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.


"For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, 'But the righteous man shall live by faith'" (Romans 1:16-17).

The word "righteousness" in Romans 1:17 translates the Greek word dikaiosune, The word means righteousness, equity, or justice. When Old Testament was translated into Greek, it translated Hebrew words, such as 'emeth (faithfulness), zakhu (innocence), chesedh (lovingkindness), tov (good), meshraim (uprightness), mishpat (just), and tsaddiq (righteousness). It never was used to translate "giving."

The passage Paul is quoting is Habukkuk 2:4, "Behold, as for the proud one, His soul is not right within him; but the righteous will live by his faith." Here, the Hebrew word for righteous is tsaddiyq. This word means just, lawful, or righteous.

For a detailed study of this passage, see The Righteousness of God.


Thank you, Jeffrey.

It will be a topic of study in the near future with my Pentecostal friend. I'm very thankful for preachers like you who have put in the time to understand translations. Are there other resources I should have for word study, besides Vines, Strongs, and Youngs? Any advice is appreciated



The vast majority of the time, you only need your Bible. The only reason I went back to the Hebrew and Greek was that your friend made a claim about the translation of a word. Even here it wasn't necessary. A person merely has to point out that if what he claimed was true, then a proper translation would have "giving" in every place where "righteousness" appears; yet, there isn't one English translation that does so. Since hundreds of actual language scholars disagree, then his argument has no merit.



Thank you,

What you said makes perfect sense especially since there are so many translations.

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