Justification: 'By Faith Alone?'

Author: James Akin


James Akin

Many Protestants today realize that Catholics adhere to two of the important "solas" related to salvation sola gratia (by grace alone) and solo Christo (by Christ alone) but fewer are aware that Catholics can also accept the formula of justification sola fide (by faith alone), provided this phrase is properly understood.

The term pistis is used in the Bible in a number of different senses, ranging from intellectual belief (Romans 14:22, 23, James 2:19), to assurance (Acts 17:31), and even to trustworthiness or reliability (Romans 3:3, Titus 2:10). Of key importance is Galatians 5:6, which refers to faith working by charity. In Catholic theology, this is what is known as fides formata or faith formed by charity. The alternative to formed faith is fides informis or faith unformed by charity. This is the kind of faith described in James 2:19, for example.

Whether a Catholic rejects the idea of justification by faith alone depends on what sense the term faith is being used in. If it is being used to refer to unformed faith then a Catholic rejects the idea of justification by faith alone (which is the point James is making in James 2:19, as every non-antinomian Evangelical agrees; one is not justified by intellectual belief alone).

However, if the term faith is being used to refer to faith formed by charity then the Catholic accepts the idea of justification by faith alone. In fact, in traditional works of Catholic theology, one regularly encounters the statement that formed faith is justifying faith. If one has formed faith, one is justified. Period.

A Catholic would thus reject the idea of justification sola fide informi but wholeheartedly embrace the idea of justification sola fide formata. Adding the word formed to clarify the nature of the faith in sola fides renders the doctrine completely acceptable to a Catholic.

Why, then, do Catholics not use the formula faith alone in everyday discourse? There are two reasons:

First, whenever a theological tradition is developing, it must decide which way key terms are going to be used or there will be hopeless confusion. For example, during the early centuries it was decided that in connection with Jesus identity the term God would be used as a noun rather than as a proper name for the Father. This enables us to say, Jesus is God and be understood. If the term God were used as a proper name for the Father in this regard, we would have to say, Jesus is not God. Obviously, the Church could not have people running around saying Jesus is God and Jesus is not God, though both would be perfectly consistent with the Trinity depending on how the term God is being used (i.e., as a noun or a proper name for the Father). Hopeless confusion (and charges of heresy, and bloodbaths) would have resulted in the early centuries if the Church did not specify the meaning of the term God when used in this context.

Of course, the Bible uses the term God in both senses, but to avoid confusion (and heretical misunderstandings on the part of the faithful, who could incline to either Arianism or Modalism if they misread the word God in the above statements) it later became necessary to adopt one usage over the other when discussing the identity of Jesus.

A similar phenomenon occurs in connection with the word faith. Evangelical leaders know this by personal experience since they have to continually fight against antinomian understandings of the term faith (and the corresponding antinomian evangelistic practices and false conversions that result). Because faith is such a key term, it is necessary that each theological school have a fixed usage of it in practice, even though there is more than one use of the term in the Bible. Evangelical leaders, in response to the antinomianism that has washed over the American church scene in the last hundred and fifty years, are attempting to impose a uniform usage to the term faith in their community to prevent these problems. (And may they have good luck in this, by the way.)

This leads me to why Catholics do not use the formula faith alone. Given the different usages of the term faith in the Bible, the early Church had to decide which meaning would be treated as normative. Would it be the Galatians 5 sense or the Romans 14/James 2 sense? The Church opted for the latter for several reasons:

First, the Romans 14 sense of the term pistis is frankly the more common in the New Testament. It is much harder to think of passages which demand that pistis mean faith formed by charity than it is to think of passages which demand that pistis mean intellectual belief. In fact, even in Galatians 5:6 itself, Paul has to specify that it is faith formed by charity that he is talking about, suggesting that this is not the normal use of the term in his day.

Second, the New Testament regularly (forty-two times in the KJV) speaks of the faith, meaning a body of theological beliefs (e.g. Jude 3). The connection between pistis and intellectual belief is clearly very strong in this usage.

Third, Catholic theology has focused on the triad of faith, hope, and charity, which Paul lays great stress on and which is found throughout his writings, not just in 1 Corinthians 13:13 (though that is the locus classicus for it), including places where it is not obvious because of the English translation or the division of verses. If in this triad faith is taken to mean formed faith then hope and charity are collapsed into faith and the triad is flattened. To preserve the distinctiveness of each member of the triad, the Church chose to use the term faith in a way that did not include within it the ideas of hope (trust) and charity (love). Only by doing this could the members of the triad be kept from collapsing into one another.

Thus the Catholic Church normally expresses the core essences of these virtues like this:

Faith is the theological virtue by which we believe in God and believe all that he has said and revealed to us . . . because he is truth itself. (CCC 1814)

Hope is the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ’s promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit. (CCC 1817)

Charity is the theological virtue by which we love God above all things for his own sake, and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God. (CCC 1822)

In common Catholic usage, faith is thus unconditional belief in what God says, hope is unconditional trust in God, and charity is unconditional love for God. When we are justified, God places all three of these virtues in our hearts. These virtues are given to each of the justified, even though our outward actions do not always reflect them because of the fallen nature we still possess. Thus a person may still have the virtue of faith even if momentarily tempted by doubt, a person may still have the virtue of trust even if scared or tempted by despair, and a person may still have the virtue of charity even if he often selfish. Only a direct, grave violation (mortal sin against) of one of the virtues destroys the virtue.

As our sanctification progresses, these virtues within us are strengthened by God and we are able to more easily exercise faith, more easily exercise trust, and more easily exercise love. Performing acts of faith, hope, and charity becomes easier as we grow in the Christian life (note the great difficulty new converts often experience in these areas compared to those who have attained a measure of spiritual maturity).

However, so long as one has any measure of faith, hope, and charity, one is in a state of justification. Thus Catholics often use the soteriological slogan that we are saved by faith, hope, and charity. This does not disagree with the Protestant soteriological slogan that we are saved by faith alone if the term faith is understood in the latter to be faith formed by charity or Galatians 5 faith.

One will note, in the definitions of the virtues offered above, the similarity between hope and the way Protestants normally define faith; that is, as an unconditional placing our trust in Christs promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit. The definition Protestants normally give to faith is the definition Catholics use for hope.

However, the Protestant idea of faith by no means excludes what Catholics refer to as faith, since every Evangelical would (or should) say that a person with saving faith will believe whatever God says because God is absolutely truthful and incapable of making an error. Thus the Protestant concept of faith normally includes both the Catholic concept of faith and the Catholic concept of hope.

Thus if a Protestant further specifies that saving faith is a faith which works by charity then the two soteriological slogans become equivalents. The reason is that a faith which works by charity is a faith which produces acts of love. But a faith which produces acts of love is a faith which includes the virtue of charity, the virtue of charity is the thing that enables us to perform acts of supernatural love in the first place. So a Protestant who says saving faith is a faith which works by charity, as per Galatians 5:6, is saying the same thing as a Catholic when a Catholic says that we are saved by faith, hope, and charity.

We may put the relationship between the two concepts as follows:

Protestant idea of faith = Catholic idea of faith + Catholic idea of hope + Catholic idea of charity

The three theological virtues of Catholic theology are thus summed up in the (good) Protestants idea of the virtue of faith. And the Protestant slogan salvation by faith alone becomes the Catholic slogan salvation by faith, hope, and charity (alone).

This was recognized a few years ago in The Church’s Confession of Faith: A Catholic Catechism for Adults, put out by the German Conference of Bishops, which stated:

Catholic doctrine . . . says that only a faith alive in graciously bestowed love can justify. Having mere faith without love, merely considering something true, does not justify us. But if one understands faith in the full and comprehensive biblical sense, then faith includes conversion, hope, and love and the Lutheran formula [by faith alone] can have a good Catholic sense. According to Catholic doctrine, faith encompasses both trusting in God on the basis of his mercifulness proved in Jesus Christ and confessing the salvific work of God through Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit. Yet this faith is never alone. It includes other acts turning away from sin and turning toward God . . . hope in God, and love for God. These are not external additions and supplements to faith, but unfoldings of the inner essence of faith itself.1

The same thing was recognized in a document written a few years ago under the auspices of the (Catholic) German Conference of Bishops and the bishops of the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany (the Lutheran church). The purpose of the document, titled The Condemnations of the Reformation Era: Do They Still Divide?, was to determine which of the sixteenth-century Catholic and Protestant condemnations are still applicable to the other party. Thus the joint committee which drafted the document went over the condemnations from Trent and assessed which of them no longer applied to Lutherans and the condemnations of the Augsburg Confession and the Smalcald Articles, etc., and assesses which of them are not applicable to Catholics.

When it came to the issue of justification by faith alone, the document concluded:

Today the difference about our interpretation of faith is no longer a reason for mutual condemnation . . . even though in the Reformation period it was seen as a profound antithesis of ultimate and decisive force. By this we mean the confrontation between the formulas by faith alone, on the one hand, and faith, hope, and love, on the other.

We may follow Cardinal Willebrand and say: In Luther’s sense the word faith by no means intends to exclude either works or love or even hope. We may quite justly say that Luther’s concept of faith, if we take it in its fullest sense, surely means nothing other than what we in the Catholic Church term love (1970, at the General Assembly of the World Lutheran Federation in Evian).

If we take all this to heart, we may say the following: If we translate from one language to another, then Protestant talk about justification through faith corresponds to Catholic talk about justification through grace; and on the other hand, Protestant doctrine understands substantially under the one word faith what Catholic doctrine (following 1 Cor. 13:13) sums up in the triad of faith, hope, and love. But in this case the mutual rejections in this question can be viewed as no longer applicable today that is, canons 9 and 12 of the [Council of Trent’s] Decree on Justification and the corresponding condemnations in the [Lutheran] Formula of Concord SD [Solid Declaration] III, first group of rejections 1-2 (BC [Book of Concord] 547f.); cf. HC [Heidelberg Catechism], esp. 20.

According to [Lutheran] Protestant interpretation, the faith that clings unconditionally to God's promise in Word and Sacrament is sufficient for righteousness before God, so that the renewal of the human being, without which there can be no faith, does not in itself make any contribution to justification. Catholic doctrine knows itself to be at one with the Protestant concern in emphasizing that the renewal of the human being does not contribute to justification, and is certainly not a contribution to which he could make any appeal before God. Nevertheless it feels compelled to stress the renewal of the human being through justifying grace, for the sake of acknowledging God's newly creating power; although this renewal in faith, hope, and love is certainly nothing but a response to God's unfathomable grace. Only if we observe this distinction can we say but we can then say in all truth: Catholic doctrine does not overlook what Protestant faith finds so important, and vice versa; and Catholic doctrine does not maintain what Protestant doctrine is afraid of, and vice versa.2

In addition to concluding that canons 9 and 12 of the Decree on Justification did not apply to modern Protestants, the document also concluded that canons 1-13, 16, 24, and 32 do not apply to modern Protestants (or at least modern Lutherans).3

During the drafting of this document, the Protestant participants asked what kind of authority it would have in the Catholic Church, and the response given by Cardinal Ratzinger (who was the Catholic corresponding head of the joint commission) was that it would have considerable authority. The German Conference of Bishops is well-known in the Catholic Church for being very cautious and orthodox and thus the document would carry a great deal of weight even outside of Germany, where the Protestant Reformation started.

Furthermore, the Catholic head of the joint commission was Ratzinger himself, who is also the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome, which is the body charged by the pope with protecting the purity of Catholic doctrine. Next to the pope himself, the head of the CDF is the man most responsible for protecting orthodox Catholic teaching, and the head of the CDF happened to be the Catholic official with ultimate oversight over the drafting of the document.

Before the joint commission met, Cardinal Ratzinger and Lutheran Bishop Eduard Lohse (head of the Lutheran church in Germany) issued a letter expressing the purpose of the document, stating:

Our common witness is counteracted by judgments passed by one church on the other during the sixteenth century, judgments which found their way into the Confession of the Lutheran and Reformed churches and into the doctrinal decisions of the Council of Trent. According to the general conviction, these so-called condemnations no longer apply to our partner today. But this must not remain a merely private persuasion. It must be established in binding form.4

I say this as a preface to noting that the commission concluded that canon 9 of Trent’s Decree on Justification is not applicable to modern Protestants (or at least those who say saving faith is Galatians 5 faith). This is important because canon 9 is the one dealing with the faith alone formula (and the one R.C. Sproul is continually hopping up and down about). It states:

If anyone says that the sinner is justified by faith alone, so as to understand that nothing else is required to cooperate in the attainment of the grace of justification . . . let him be anathema.

The reason this is not applicable to modern Protestants5 is that Protestants (at least the good ones) do not hold the view being condemned in this canon.

Like all Catholic documents of the period, it uses the term faith in the sense of intellectual belief in whatever God says. Thus the position being condemned is the idea that we are justified by intellectual assent alone (as per James 2). We might rephrase the canon:

If anyone says that the sinner is justified by intellectual assent alone, so as to understand that nothing besides intellectual assent is required to cooperate in the attainment of the grace of justification . . . let him be anathema.

And every non-antinomian Protestant would agree with this, since in addition to intellectual assent one must also repent, trust, etc.6

So Trent does not condemn the (good) Protestant understanding of faith alone. In fact, the canon allows the formula to be used so long as it is not used so as to understand that nothing besides intellectual assent is required. The canon only condemns sola fide if it is used so as to understand that nothing else [besides intellectual assent] is required to attain justification. Thus Trent is only condemning one interpretation of the sola fides formula and not the formula itself.

I should mention at this point that I think Trent was absolutely right in what it did and that it phrased the canon in the perfect manner to be understood by the Catholic faithful of the time. The term faith had long been established as referring to intellectual assent, as per Romans 14:22-23, James 2:14-26, 1 Corinthians 13:13, etc., and thus everyday usage of the formula faith alone had to be squashed in the Catholic community because it would be understood to mean intellectual assent alone the very view being condemned in James 2 and would thus send millions of souls to hell (as the antinomian branch of Evangelicalism is doing today).

The Church could no more allow people to run around indiscriminately using the faith alone formula knowing how it would be interpreted by the faithful after centuries of one usage than the Church today could allow people to run around saying Jesus is not God (using God as a proper name for the Father). The confusion (and damnation) it would wreak would be massive. Even though the formula can indeed have a perfectly orthodox meaning, that is not how it will be understood by the masses. There must be continuity in the language of the faithful or massive confusion will result.

In fact, one can argue that the problem of antinomianism in Protestantism is a product of the attempt by the Reformers to change the established usage of the term faith to include more than intellectual assent. The English verb believe (derived from Old High German) and the English noun faith (derived from French and before that Latin) were both formed under the historic Christian usage of the term faith and thus they connote intellectual assent.

This is a deeply rooted aspect of the English language, which is why Protestant evangelists have to labor so hard at explaining to the unchurched why faith alone does not mean intellectual assent alone. They have to work so hard at this because they are bucking the existing use of the language; the Reformers effort to change the meanings of the terms believe and faith have not borne significant fruit outside of the Protestant community.

This is also the reason Evangelical preaching often tragically slips into antinomianism. The historic meaning of the terms believe and faith, which are still the established meanings outside the Protestant community, tend to reassert themselves in the Protestant community when people aren’t paying attention, and antinomianism results.

This reflects one of the tragedies of the Reformation. If the Reformers had not tried to overturn the existing usage of the term faith and had only specified it further to formed faith, if they had only adopted the slogan iustificatio sola fide formata instead of iustificatio sola fide, then all of this could have been avoided. The Church would have embraced the formula, the split in Christendom might possibly have been avoided, and we would not have a problem with antinomianism today.

So I agree a hundred percent with what Trent did. The existing usage of the term faith in connection with justification could not be overturned any more than the existing usage of the term God in connection with Jesus identity could be overturned.

What both communities need to do today, now that a different usage has been established in them, is learn to translate between each others languages. Protestants need to be taught that the Catholic formula salvation by faith, hope, and charity is equivalent to what they mean by faith alone. And Catholics need to be taught that (at least for the non-antinomians) the Protestant formula faith alone is equivalent to what they mean by faith, hope, and charity.

It would be nice if the two groups could reconverge on a single formula, but that would take centuries to develop, and only as a consequence of the two groups learning to translate each others theological vocabularies first. Before a reconvergence of language could take place, the knowledge that the two formulas mean the same thing would first need to be as common as the knowledge that English people drive on the left-hand side of the road instead of on the right-hand side as Americans do. That is not going to happen any time soon, but for now we must do what we can in helping others to understand what the two sides are saying.

(Needless to say, this whole issue of translating theological vocabularies is very important to me since I have been both a committed Evangelical and a committed Catholic and thus have had to learn to translate the two vocabularies through arduous effort in reading theological dictionaries, encyclopedias, systematic theologies, and Church documents. So I feel like banging my head against a wall whenever I hear R.C. Sproul and others representing canon 9 as a manifest and blatant condemnation of Protestant doctrine, or even all Protestants, on this point.)

The fact faith is normally used by Catholics to refer to intellectual assent (as in Romans 14:22-23, 1 Corinthians 13:13, and James 2:14-26) is one reason Catholics do not commonly use the faith alone formula even though they agree with what (good) Protestants mean by it. The formula runs counter to the historic meaning of the term faith.

The other reason is that, frankly, the formula itself (though not what it is used to express) is flatly unbiblical. The phrase faith alone (Greek, pisteos monon), occurs exactly once in the Bible, and there it is rejected:

You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. (Jas. 2:24)

Without going into the subject of what kind of justification is being discussed here (which is misunderstood by most Evangelical commentators on Catholicism, see below7), the phrase faith alone is itself rejected. Even though Protestants can give the phrase orthodox theological content, the phrase itself is unbiblical. If we wish to conform our theological language to the language of the Bible, we need to conform our usage of the phrase faith alone to the use of that phrase in the Bible.

Thus, if we are to conform our language to the language of the Bible, we need to reject usage of the formula faith alone while at the same time preaching that man is justified by faith and not by works of the Law (which Catholics can and should and must and do preach, as Protestants would know if they read Catholic literature). James 2:24 requires rejection of the first formula while Romans 3:28 requires the use of the second.8

Thus while Catholics have good reason for not using the formula faith alone, they do not deny what non-antinomian Protestants mean when they use this phrase.

This brings me back (after a long, but I hope fruitful journey) to the subject I began with. When callers ask, Why aren’t Catholics under the anathema of God since they reject the faith alone formula? one can simply say that in addition to believing in justification by grace alone and justification by Christ alone, Catholics also have no problem with justification by faith alone, so long as the kind of faith is understood properlyas formed faith/fides formata/faith working by charity. Catholics don’t normally use the phrase faith alone for the two reasons indicated above, but they have no problem at all saying we are justified by faith alone if the faith is understood to be Galatians 5 faith.


1. The Church’s Confession of Faith: A Catholic Catechism for Adults [San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1987], 199-200. Emphasis in original.

2. The Condemnations of the Reformation Era: Do They Still Divide?, Lehmann and Pannenberg., ed.s, [Minneapolis: Fortress, 1990], 49-53.

3. Saying a Catholic canon does not apply does not mean that the doctrine defined in the canon has been changed. The doctrine is the same, it is still infallible and has not been revoked it has simply been judged that modern Lutherans are not committing the error described in the canon.

There can be several reasons for this: (1) modern Lutherans have changed or eliminated some of the excesses that characterized the early phase of their movement, (2) they have clarified their position in such a way that it is clear it does not fall under what the canon condemns, (3) the position being condemned was not held by all Lutherans, but only by some and has now gone by the wayside, (4) the canon was directed at what Lutherans of the time said, but not at what they meant by what they said, so the doctrinal formula was condemned as defective rather than the doctrine itself, or (5) the canon was never directed at Lutherans to begin with but was directed at something else.

A good example of the last of these is canons 1-3 of Trent's Decree on Justification, which were never directed against Protestants to begin with but against Pelagianism (can.s 1-2) and semi-Pelagianism (can. 3).

Good examples of where early statements of the Reformers was clarified or revoked are in canons 4-6, which are directed at certain exaggerated statements made in the heat of rhetoric in the early years of the Reformation (can. 4 man's will is like something inanimate; can. 5 man's will is not free in any sense whatsoever and thus free will is a thing in name only . . . a fiction . . . brought into the Church by Satan; can. 6 God produces evil works as well as good works . . . so that the betrayal of Judas is no less his own proper work than the calling of Paul). As Protestant theology grew more sophisticated, these statements were later clarified or dropped, even by the very people who had originally made them. Thus today not even the most strict Calvinist theologian (so long as we are not talking about hyper-Calvinism) would agree with the propositions condemned by canons 4-6.

Still, the Church needed to condemn the statements because they were out there, in print, endangering souls. The situation is kind of like CRI needing to condemn statements made in print or on tape by Benny Hinn, even if Hinn has later retracted or clarified them. His books and tapes are still out there, and the statements in them must be forcefully condemned even if Hinn never believed or no longer believes what he actually said.

4. Ibid. 3.

5. Aside from the facts that [1] the term anathema in ecclesiastical documents is used to refer to the canon law penalty of solemn excommunication and that Protestants cannot be excommunicated from the Catholic Church because they are already not part of it and [2] the canon law penalty of anathema or solemn excommunication was abolished in the 1983 Code of Canon Law, leaving only ordinary excommunication in place.

6. The term cooperate should not be distracting. It does not mean do something by our own strength or contribute our effort to what God does in us. Indeed, the Catholic Church teaches that prior to justification and after justification man is completely unable to do any supernatural act by his own strength. In order to make an act of faith, hope, or charity, one must receive God's grace because human nature, before or after justification, is unable to do these things and must have God's grace produce these acts in us. The reason the canon includes the word cooperate is to express the fact that, even though it takes God's grace to produce supernatural acts such as repenting, believing, and trusting, they must still be done. Thus our cooperation is produced by God's operation. God's operation produces our operation, and thus we co-operate under the impetus of God's grace.

7. On the subject of the kind of justification discussed in James 2:24, Trent quotes this verse only once and then applies it to progressive, not initial justification, so one does not have to do good works to get into a state of justification; good works are fruits of the state of justification, not causes for entering it. The fact this passage does not refer to initial justification should be obvious since the justification of Abraham it refers to occurred years after Abraham was first justified by faith in Genesis 12, when By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place which he was to receive as an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was to go (Heb. 11:8). Thus James 2:24 refers to later, progressive justification, by which one grows in righteousness, not initial justification, when ones sins are forgiven.

8. Note: In Catholic theology, works of the Law are taken to be either actions done by human strength [i.e., acts of human righteousness] or works of the Mosaic Law. Both understandings are theologically acceptable, since one is justified by neither and pinning your hopes on either will damn you, but the latter is clearly the exegetically supported one.

The Law Paul is talking about in Rom. 3:28 is clearly the Mosaic Law since in the very next verse, 3:29, he asks, Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? indicating that works of the Law are something Jews have but Gentiles do not and in the verse after that, 3:30, he states: Since God is one; and he will justify the circumcised on the ground of their faith and the uncircumcised through their faith indicating that circumcision is one of the works of the Law, and the only Law which commands circumcision is the Mosaic Law. Since the faith Paul has in mind is faith in Christ, the verse means, For we hold that a man is justified by faith in Christ apart from works of Mosaic Law.

The antithesis Paul has in mind is between justification by Christ and by the Mosaic Law, not between faith and good works. Thus Paul told the Jews of the synagogue in Pisidian Antioch:

We bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus. Let it be known to you therefore, brethren, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and every one that believes is justified by him from everything from which you could not be justified by the Law of Moses. Beware, therefore, lest there come upon you what is said in the prophets: Behold, you scoffers, and wonder, and perish; for I do a deed in your days, a deed you will never believe, if one declares it to you. [Acts 13:32-33, 38-41]

The Christ/Mosaic Law contrast in Romans 3:28-30 is brought out even more clearly when one takes the simple step of using the Hebrew term for the Law Torah rendering the passage:

For we hold that a man is justified by faith apart from works of Torah. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since God is one; and he will justify the circumcised on the ground of their faith and the uncircumcised through their faith.

Incidentally, recent work in the Dead Sea Scrolls, including the recently published and very important MMT document, which served as the Constitution or Declaration of Independence for the Qumran community, reveals an enormous preoccupation on the part of first century Jews with works of Torah. The phrase works of Torah/works of Law is used repeatedly in them and sheds great light on the meaning of the term in Paul.

Cf. the three articles in the Nov/Dec 1994 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review and R. Eisenman and M. Wise’s book The Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered, chapter 6, Works Reckoned as Righteousness Legal Texts.

Copyright (c) 1995 by James Akin. All Rights Reserved