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Romans 1:17

ESV For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
NIV For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed--a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: 'The righteous will live by faith.'
NASB For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written: 'BUT THE RIGHTEOUS one will live by faith.'
CSB For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, just as it is written: The righteous will live by faith.
NLT This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, 'It is through faith that a righteous person has life.'
KJV For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

What does Romans 1:17 mean?

This, together with the previous verse, is often referred to as the central theme of the book of Romans. Paul has declared boldly that he is not ashamed of the gospel. Why? It is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes (Romans 1:16).

Now Paul describes what the gospel does. In the gospel, the righteousness of God is "revealed," in one sense, in that it is given to human beings by their faith in Christ. In other words, God declares human beings to be righteous in His eyes because of their faith. The words "from faith to faith" likely mean that this declaration of people being righteous is by faith from first to last, from start to finish.

As Romans will make abundantly clear, people cannot be declared righteous before God by following the law. Good works and ritual obedience do nothing to make us right with God. And if we are not declared righteous in God's eyes—a condition referred to as being "justified"—then we cannot be with God. We are separated from Him forever because of our sinfulness. However, according to the gospel, Christ died to pay the penalty of death and separation from God for our sins on the cross. When we trust in Christ, God sees us through Christ and declares us to be "righteous" or "justified."

Paul put the same idea this way in Philippians 3:8–9: "that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith."

This is God's gospel: God's "good news" for humanity. Paul quotes Habakkuk 2:4 to show this is not a new idea: "The righteous shall live by his faith."
What is the Gospel?
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