Words like ‘faith’ and ‘believe’ are said to be the catalyst of Christian salvation. Ephesians says, “it is by grace you have been saved, through faith,” and John says, “whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” No one will deny that the Scriptures are clear that faith and belief provide salvation and eternal life. Words have meaning, and words can change the face of an entire religion if given enough time.
In English, faith is defined as “complete trust or confidence” or “strong belief in a religion, based on spiritual conviction rather than proof.” Believing is defined as “feeling sure that (something) is true” or “having faith in the truth or existence of.”1 Therefore, the path to salvation is feeling trust or confidence that Jesus is real based on spiritual conviction rather than proof. This is how the meaning of words shapes the Christian religion. But what if this was all untrue?
In this case, our tradition and translations betray us. We are not saved by a strong belief based on spiritual conviction rather than proof. We are not saved by a feeling of being sure that something is true. We are not saved by faith or belief as our English dictionaries define them. When we look to the original Greek language that the New Testament was written, we are saved by allegiance alone. Allegiance to one nation and one ruler.
What Faith Is Not
Atheist Richard Dawkins is famous for saying, “Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence.”2 As much as many Christians wouldn’t like to admit, Dawkins is correct. He is correct about the English words, but he isn’t correct about the original text of the New Testament. In fact, the opposite is true.
The English word “faith” did not exist during the time of Jesus. This should be obvious, but it’s helpful to remember because the word is not inspired (or God-breathed) in any way. Likewise, no one in the first century ever talked about “believing” in Jesus for salvation. This is because they, instead, used the Greek word “pistis” (πίστις) or its family of words. Pistis is an ancient word that doesn’t map directly onto our modern words or definitions like ‘faith’ and ‘belief.’
We have so many pre-packaged ideas in our heads when it comes to ‘faith’ and ‘belief’ regarding Christian salvation. Professor of Theology, Dr. Matthew Bates says, “With its anti-evidential, anti-rational, and ‘leap’ connotations, the English word faith is of limited value when discussing eternal salvation in our present cultural climate.”3 Contrary to our English definitions, as far as Scripture is concerned, faith (pistis) is not a blind leap as the famous phrase suggests. Pistis is not belief in something you can’t see or don’t have evidence for, it is not another word for religion, and most surprisingly, it is not the opposite of works.
What Pistis Is
We usually have a bias for thinking that words have only one meaning, but often this isn’t the case. Take the word ‘sheep,’ for instance. Most would think of a wooly farm animal, but the second definition is “a person who is too easily influenced.” Both are equally valid definitions but are only applicable in certain contexts. The Greek word family for pistis (translated to faith or believe) is similar—context is key.
The most authoritative Greek dictionary of the New Testament time period gives us better insight into what pistis actually means.4 The Greek-English Lexicon gives dozens of references to first-century literature (including the New Testament) where the best definition to pistis is something akin to ‘faithfulness,’ ‘fidelity,’ or ‘loyalty’ (Matthew 23:23, Romans 3:3, Galatians 5:22, 2 Thessalonians 1:4, Titus 2:10).
Pistis is usually always used concerning relationships; friends, family members, romantic, slaves and masters, kings and subjects, generals and soldiers, and of course, gods and humans.5 While in all these contexts, the definition is better explained as faithfulness and fidelity, it is never explaining a “blind leap” or “spiritual conviction, rather than based on proof.” Pistis is always based on concrete, provable reality. Pistis can be applied to many contexts, but it carries a very important meaning when applied to the context of royalty or military command: allegiance. This is key. But before we go any further, we need to look at why pistis is so incredibly central to the Gospel.
The Royal Gospel
‘Gospel’ is a political phrase from the time of the New Testament that was most commonly used in the context of the Roman empire. The Greek word ‘euangelion’ (gospel, meaning ‘good news’) was used to refer to an announcement of glad tidings associated with imperial rule. The Bible subverts this context, normally reserved for Caesar or one of his magistrates, by using it to announce the ‘good news’ royal proclamation of Jesus’ Kingdom and his Kingship. The one and only Gospel of Jesus is that God’s nation has arrived, and it has a ruler. The Gospel is good news with a purpose.
Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ… to bring about the obedience of pistis in all the nations.
Pistis requires obedience. The Gospel of the Kingdom of God requires pistis that results in obedience to the King. Paul stressed this point even more powerfully in the first chapter of Romans.
Through the Spirit of holiness he was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord, through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from pistis for the sake of his name among all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.
The purpose of the Gospel includes the obedience that comes from pistis to Jesus; obedience from pistis that is required from all nations. How can pistis require obedience?
There is an abundant amount of evidence that pistis, when used in the context of good news about a king, always means allegiance.6 When the word pistis is used in the context of military commanders and kings/emperors, it always means allegiance or loyalty. Pistis is also not described as a one-time decision but rather an allegiance that must be maintained over the course of one’s military career.7 Bates explains, “The core meaning potential of pistis is faithfulness… but when a royal social frame is present, this potential can be actualized as allegiance. In other words, we should expect allegiance to be a prominent applied meaning for pistis or pisteuō when we are talking about the Christ, the gospel, or saving benefits that a king bestows.”8
Evidence that pistis should be properly translated as allegiance in the context of royalty is abundant. The Jewish historian Josephus, a contemporary of Paul, used pistis to refer to allegiance or loyalty a multitude of times.9 A few examples are as follows.10 In a letter, King Ptolemy speaks of Jews installed in positions requiring pistis in the royal court (Antiquities 12.4711); King Antiochus praises the pistis of the Jews for their allegiance to him during a time of revolt (Antiquities 12.14712); pistis and the related verb pisteuō are used with reference to matters of sworn allegiance, loyal commitment, and treason in battle (Antiquities 12.39613); Antipater is described as having shown pistis to Hyrcanus as the one with the claim to the Hasmonean throne (Wars of the Jews 1.20714); the tribune Neapolitanus, after a tour of Jerusalem, commends the citizens for their pistis—that is, their loyalty to Romans (Wars of the Jews 2.34115).
The books of Maccabees, contained within the Catholic canon of Scripture, written sometime between 30 BC and AD 70 (around the same time as the New Testament), show us more examples of the Greek word pistis used to communicate allegiance. King Demetrius wrote a letter to the Jews, trying to convince them to side with him rather than his enemy, saying, “Since you have kept your agreement with us and have continued your friendship with us, and have not sided with our enemies, we have heard of it and rejoiced. Now continue still to keep pistis with us, and we will repay you with good for what you do for us.” (1 Maccabees 10:26-27 NRSV). He says that some Jews should be placed in stations at strongholds where pistis [allegiance] is required (1 Maccabees 10:37 NRSV).
While the Jews were ruled by the Greeks, they were treated quite poorly, but despite that, they maintained “unswerving allegiance” to the Ptolemaic dynasty: “The Jews continued to maintain goodwill and unswerving pistis toward the dynasty” (3 Maccabees 3:2-4 NRSV). Faithful behavior despite cruel treatment makes it clear that allegiance is in view when used in the context of royal pistis. In another verse, the Jew’s loyalty and allegiance are stressed once again when the king says they “exhibited to an extraordinary degree a full and firm pistis to my ancestors” (3 Maccabees 5:31 NRSV). These are just a few of many examples found in first-century Jewish literature, but even more can be found in the protestant New Testament.
Allegiance for the Kingdom
As we’ve seen, in the context of kingdoms, royalty, and military command, pistis always means allegiance. Paul, who stressed the Kingship of Jesus every chance he got, used the word pistis many times to communicate the need for allegiance to Jesus and his nation. Matthew Bates writes, “Jesus [is] the Messiah, Jesus the long-anticipated but now-ruling Jewish-style universal king. I cannot overstate the importance of this. In other words, Paul everywhere presupposes that the most basic identity of Jesus is that of the enthroned divine-human king, the actively ruling Son of God. So contextually the most obvious and natural way to speak about the proper relationship between the king and his people is allegiance or loyalty.”16 N.T. Wright says, “For Paul, pistis is the personal allegiance to the God who was now to be known as ‘the God who raised Jesus from the dead’; personal confession that ‘Jesus is Lord.'”17 Michael Gorman explains that Paul uses pistis as “believing allegiance.”18 John Barclay, speaking on how Paul construes pistis as allegiance, says, “What now counts for worth is only one’s status in Christ, and the consistency of one’s allegiance to him”; “[Paul’s] allegiance is now exclusively to Christ, the source of his new life in faith.”19 Knowing that pistis in the context of response to a king always means allegiance makes Paul’s writings so much more clear.
Speaking of the Jews, Paul says, “What if some did not evidence pistis [ēpistēsan], will their lack of pistis nullify God’s pistis?” (Romans 3:3). Scholars agree that the final use of the word pistis in this verse, God’s pistis, does not refer to God’s belief, faith, or trust. Instead, it refers to God’s faithfulness to his people. Therefore, it only makes sense that Paul intends the same meaning, or even more so towards allegiance to God as king, when he describes the Jew’s lack of pistis. With that in mind, we turn to some verses later in the same chapter of Romans. Notice how, when correctly translated, these verses make so much more sense.
But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through the allegiance of Jesus the Christ for all who give allegiance. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in the Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, through his allegiance.
Therefore, since we have been justified by allegiance, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus the Christ.
Paul’s letter to the Galatian church demonstrates more use of the word pistis as allegiance.
Yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through the allegiance of Jesus the Christ, so we also have given allegiance to the Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by the allegiance of the Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.
It is no longer I who live, but the Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by the allegiance of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
You are severed from the Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by allegiance, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in the Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails for anything, but only allegiance working through love.
To the church in Philippi…
Rather, I consider everything loss because of the surpassing greatness of knowing the Christ, Jesus my Lord. On his account I have suffered the loss of all things and consider them as rubbish, in order that I may gain the Christ and be found in him, not having my own righteousness by the law, but that which comes through the allegiance of the Christ, the righteousness of God based upon allegiance—that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being conformed to his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
Or to the church in Corinth…
For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God was pleased through the folly of the proclamation [of a crucified king] to save those who give allegiance.
1 Corinthians 1:21
Now, brothers and sisters, I bring to your attention the gospel that I gospeled to you, which you received, on which you stand, and through which also you are being saved—that is, if you hold fast to the word that I gospeled to you, unless you have given allegiance in vain.
1 Corinthians 15:1-2
It is easy to forget that the Gospel was, and still is, a treasonous proclamation. The true Gospel of the Kingdom of God resulted in the death of Paul and nearly all the disciples. They weren’t killed for telling people how to go to heaven when they die. They all were killed by the empire because of their treasonous claims that Jesus was King and Caesar was not. Luke, Paul, and the other New Testament authors never put allegiance for the Kingdom of God in a separate category than allegiance for Rome. Any modern idea that pistis for Jesus as King is spiritual, but pistis for a worldly nation (like Rome, America, or otherwise) is physical, would be entirely foreign to the Biblical authors. For the Gospel to be saving it requires a response of allegiance for a new King, which necessitates abandoning current national allegiances. We can see this clearly in the account of Paul and Silas being jailed.
Luke, the author of Acts, intentionally points out that the setting of this account is Philippi and that it is a Roman colony (Acts 16:12). This is pretty important to the story. Paul and Silas are arrested and brought before the city magistrates for “throwing the city into an uproar by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.” (Acts 16:20-21).20 What this means can be seen in chapter 17 in a similar arrest, “These men who have caused trouble all over the world have now come here… they are all defying Caesar’s decrees, saying that there is another king, one called Jesus.”21 Once in prison, God breaks the chains that bound Paul and Silas (Acts 16:25-26). The jailer, thinking that they had escaped, drew his sword and was about to kill himself rather than face those to who he was allegiant (the magistrates), but Paul shouts, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!” (Acts 16:27-28). The jailer trembled before Paul and Silas, saying, “what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:29-30). Paul’s answer demonstrates that salvation is by allegiance alone.
Paul responds, “pisteuson [pistis] upon the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved; you and your household” (Acts 16:31). Many English translations will say, “believe [pisteuson] in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” but what happens next shows us that ‘allegiance’ is the better translation for our modern context. After hearing the Gospel of the Kingdom, the jailor’s allegiance, and that of his household, immediately takes outward action. The jailer switches allegiances from Rome to the Kingdom of God. The jailer disobeys the commands issued by the magistrates to keep the prisoners secure (Acts 16:23), and instead, he no longer guards them, but rather washes their wounds (Acts 16:33). Then the jailer and his household are baptized (in of itself is a politically subversive act), and they rejoice while eating together. Paul and Silas spent the night in a warm home instead of jail because the jailer had transferred his allegiance from the empire to the Kingdom by serving the ambassadors of Lord Jesus instead of the magistrates. Pistis is allegiance that requires subversive, sometimes treasonous, action.
Saved by Allegiant Works
Whoever has pistis in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life.
The pistis towards King Jesus that gives eternal life requires allegiant obedience. Salvific pistis that is embodied through action is so closely aligned with obedience that you cannot have eternal life without it. John is clear: those who have allegiance for Jesus have eternal life, those who do not have allegiance (and thus don’t obey him) do not have eternal life. Seeing this so clearly gives renewed meaning to what is likely the most famous passage in the Bible that comes just a few verses earlier: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever gives pistis unto him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
Jesus is “the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him” (Hebrews 5:9). Paul makes it clear that we will be judged by our works and only those who serve Jesus as King will have eternal life (Romans 2:6-8, 2 Corinthians 5:10). The New Testament repeatedly stresses that those who continue to practice wickedness rather than obeying the King will not be a part of God’s eternal Kingdom (1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10; Revelation 22:15). Critics who cling to a Reformation-era understanding of Paul’s use of ‘works’ and pistis will likely cite Ephesians, where it says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through pistis—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9). Many theologians understand Paul’s use of the word ‘works’ here (and other places) to be a shorthand for ‘works of the law,’ not works in general, much less works from allegiance to the King (Romans 3:20, 28; Galatians 2:16, 3:2, 5, 10). Matthew Bates clarifies, “for Paul, salvation requires the performance of concrete works (deeds) in loyal submission to Jesus as the king (i.e., salvation by pistis necessarily entails enacted allegiance), but Paul stridently opposes the idea that good works can contribute to our salvation when performed as part of a system of rule keeping apart from the more fundamental allegiance to King Jesus. In other words, the real ‘faith’ versus ‘works’ divide in Paul is more accurately framed as a divide between works performed as allegiance to Jesus the king versus works performed apart from new creation in the Christ.”22
This allegiance to Jesus that saves us is only possible because of what Jesus accomplished with his life and death.
By Allegiance, For Allegiance
Paul tells us that even though it is our allegiance that saves us, it is only because Jesus was allegiant to God the Father first, when he says, “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from pistis for pistis, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by pistis.'” (Romans 1:17 ESV). Since a king is in view, the best English translation would be, “by allegiance, for allegiance.”23 But we can be even more certain.
Further evidence that pistis means allegiance comes from what Paul is quoting when he says “as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by pistis.’” He quotes Habakkuk 2:4 where the Hebrew word “ʾĕmûnâ” is best translated as “steadfastness,” “trustworthiness,” or “faithfulness,” not “faith” or “belief” in something.24 The righteous will live by their allegiance to God, for the allegiance to God.
This is confirmed later in Paul’s letter to the Romans when he says, “the righteousness of God [is revealed] through the pistis of Jesus Christ for all who give pistis“ (Romans 3:22 NET). So in both verses, the righteousness of God is revealed by the allegiant actions of Jesus the King, and it is then for all people who live in allegiance to him. Any possible allegiance that we can exhibit is only possible because Jesus was allegiant first.
The gospel is the good news about Jesus the saving king. We are saved by allegiance alone. Jesus’s singularly effective allegiance comes first. Our imperfect allegiance follows and depends on his. The result is saving vindication, resurrection unto new life.
Allegiance for New Creation
The center of the Gospel is the Kingdom of God. Salvation and eternal life focus on renewed creation—the Kingdom of God. Christ’s Kingdom was inaugurated with his first coming, confirmed with his enthronement on the cross, and realized and brought to fullness through his subject’s allegiance. How we live our lives matters.
You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.
2 Peter 3:11-12
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration… in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.
Romans 8:20, 19-21
Allegiance to Jesus the King is the foundation of our citizenship in his nation—the Kingdom of God. Scripture promises two things: that Jesus’ nation will be eternal and that all other nations will be destroyed. All other nations are portrayed as pagan and ultimately ruled by Satan through power and authority that he delegates to those who work in government. As Christ’s nation grows, it takes over the entire planet and leaves no room for others. This is a major way in which our allegiance to Jesus through Jesus gives us salvation.
Any love, loyalty, fidelity, or allegiance you have for any other nation but Christ’s is misplaced. It is more than misplaced; it is treason against God in much the same way allegiance to the Kingdom was treason to Caesar. If you love America and give it your allegiance, you are pledging your fidelity to a sinking ship, and you are not saved (1 John 2:15). America will sink, and you will drown with it. The only victorious nation is Christ’s, and if you give it and him your total and undivided allegiance, you will live for eternity, just as it will survive for eternity.
Salvation is by Allegiance Alone
Pistis does not accurately translate to the English word ‘faith’ when used in the context of response to a king. We must shed the false idea that salvation is based on ‘a strong belief’ that is contrary to evidence or reason. We must reject the false idea that salvation comes through ‘feeling sure something is true’ rather than proof. The English definitions of ‘faith’ and ‘belief’ are far too inadequate to describe what is necessary for salvation.
Jesus’ kingship completes the entire Biblical story, from creation to renewed creation. We see God’s goodness winning victories every day and have so since Jesus first came in the flesh. Giving allegiance to Jesus as King over the one and only nation that will outlive all the rest is based on evidence and is reasonable. By Jesus’ allegiance for our allegiance, we are saved. Through living an allegiant life, we are transformed into the image of Jesus. Those who are filled with the Holy Spirit will understand the teachings of Jesus—to not ever respond with violence, love their enemies, and die to self. There is no “belief beyond evidence or reason” necessary. Jesus’ teachings make sense to those who have been transformed by the renewing of their mind (Romans 12:2).
All of creation waits in eager expectation for the full revelation of God’s children to be revealed through their allegiance to Jesus the King. The frustrated creation is groaning as it yearns for citizens of God’s Kingdom to not just ‘believe’ or have ‘faith’ but to pledge their allegiance to the Lamb and take up their God-intended role as stewards. New creation awaits us to realize that we must give our allegiance to Jesus.
- Catherine Soanes and Angus Stevenson, eds., Concise Oxford English Dictionary (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).
- Richard Dawkins, speech at the Edinburgh International Science Festival, April 15, 1992, published as an editorial, “A Scientist’s Case against God,” Independent (London), April 20, 1992, 17.
- Bates, Matthew W.. Salvation by Allegiance Alone: Rethinking Faith, Works, and the Gospel of Jesus the King (pp. 212-213). Baker Publishing Group.
- William Arndt, Frederick W. Danker, et al., A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 818.
- “Pistis in the New Testament era is not a mere “function of the heart or mind.” Writers in this time period do not describe faith as an emotion-laden feeling, attitude, or a psychological stance. Instead they “focus constantly on its relationality.” Moreover, the ancients and the biblical authors, when grouping together or classifying emotions and affections, do not include pistis in such lists. They simply did not primarily regard pistis as inward-facing personal trust or confidence. And yet emotions or affections often attend pistis, so it is impossible to entirely disentangle inward attitude and external behavior. It is safest to say that pistis is related to inward feelings and emotions, but is not itself one.” Bates, Matthew W.. Gospel Allegiance (p. 154). Baker Publishing Group.
- Morgan, Teresa. Roman Faith and Christian Faith: Pistis and Fides in the Early Roman Empire and Early Churches, Oxford University Press; 1st edition (May 2, 2017), 86-95.
- Morgan, Roman Faith and Christian Faith, 77-85.
- Bates, Matthew W.. Gospel Allegiance (p. 68). Baker Publishing Group.
- Dennis R. Lindsay, Josephus and Faith: Pistis and Pisteuein as Faith Terminology in the Writings of Flavius Josephus and in the New Testament (Leiden: Brill, 1993), esp. 78–80.
- As compiled in “Salvation by Allegiance Alone” by Matthew W. Bates, p. 80
- “and those that are of a fit age, I have admitted into the number of my soldiers; and for such as are capable of being allegiant [pistis] to me, and proper for my court, I have put them in such a post, as thinking this [kindness done to them] to be a very great and an acceptable gift, which I devote to God for his providence over me.” Flavius Josephus and William Whiston, The Works of Josephus: Complete and Unabridged (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1987), 311.
- “Moreover, this Antiochus bare testimony to our piety and allegiance [pistis], in an epistle of his, written when he was informed of a sedition in Phrygia and Lydia at which time he was in the superior provinces, wherein he commanded Zeuxis, the general of his forces, and his most intimate friend, to send some of our nation out of Babylon into Phrygia.” Flavius Josephus and William Whiston, The Works of Josephus: Complete and Unabridged (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1987), 317.
- “and when they had received oaths from both of them, that neither they themselves nor those of the same sentiments should come to any harm, they intrusted themselves with them; but Bacchides troubled not himself about the oaths he had taken, but slew threescore of them, although, by not keeping his allegiance [pistis] with those that first went over, he deterred all the rest, who had intentions to go over to him, from doing it;” Flavius Josephus and William Whiston, The Works of Josephus: Complete and Unabridged (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1987), 332.
- “whence it came to pass that the nation paid Antipater the respects that were due only to a king, and the honors they all yielded him were equal to the honors due to an absolute lord; yet did he not abate any part of that good will or allegiance [pistis] which he owed to Hyrcanus.” Flavius Josephus and William Whiston, The Works of Josephus: Complete and Unabridged (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1987), 559.
- “where he called the multitude together, and highly commended them for their allegiance [pistis] to the Romans, and earnestly exhorted them to keep the peace; and having performed such parts of divine worship at the temple as he was allowed to do, he returned to Cestius.” Flavius Josephus and William Whiston, The Works of Josephus: Complete and Unabridged (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1987), 620.
- Bates, Matthew W.. Salvation by Allegiance Alone: Rethinking Faith, Works, and the Gospel of Jesus the King (p. 83). Baker Publishing Group.
- Wright, The Paul Debate: Critical Questions For Understanding The Apostle, SPCK (January 21, 2016), p. 14.
- Gorman, Michael, Becoming the Gospel: Paul, Participation, and Mission (Eerdmans, 2015) p. 93
- Barclay, John, Paul and the Gift (Eerdmans, 2017) p. 397, 398
- Paul and Silas provoked their arrest after casting out a spirit from a slave girl, causing her owners to lose money. But as Marshall notes, “It is significant that when the accusers make their charge, the economic considerations retreat into the background and other pretexts are found.” I. Howard Marshall, Acts: An Introduction and Commentary, vol. 5, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1980), 286.
- (Acts 17:6-7) David J. Williams rightly makes this connection in his commentary, Acts, Understanding the Bible Commentary Series (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2011), 287.
- Bates, Matthew W.. Salvation by Allegiance Alone: Rethinking Faith, Works, and the Gospel of Jesus the King (p. 121). Baker Publishing Group.
- “Paul uses an odd phrase to describe the revelation of the righteousness of God. It is so strange, in fact, that some translations simply make it a rhetorical flourish, saying that our becoming right with God is all about faith “from first to last” (NIV), or “from start to finish” (NLT). But this is inaccurate. Paul’s language is cumbersome because it is part of his thesis statement in Romans, and hence hypercompressed. A better translation is, ‘In it the righteousness of God is revealed by fidelity, for fidelity.’ Or, since a king is in view, ‘by allegiance, for allegiance.'” Bates, Matthew W.. Gospel Allegiance (p. 78). Baker Publishing Group.
- For these glosses and the lexical data, see Ludwig Koehler and Walter Baumgartner, The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament, trans. M. E. J. Richardson, 2 vols. (Leiden: Brill, 2001), 1:62.
- Bates, Matthew W.. Gospel Allegiance (p. 82). Baker Publishing Group.