Habakkuk and God’s justice

The tension of God’s covenant faithfulness appears to be a core theme of Habakkuk.
(For more on this theme, see the Biblical Story.)

In the 1st century the Jewish people were crying out to God for justice.  Similarly, in Habakkuk 1:2-3a, the prophet asks the Lord:

  • How long shall I cry for help and you will not listen?
  • Or cry to you ‘Violence!’ and you will not save?”
  • Why do you make me see wrongdoing and look at trouble?

Habakkuk 1:5 begins the Lord’s response, “Look at the nations, and see!  Be astonished!  Be astounded!  For a work is being done in your days that you would not believe if you were told.”  And Habakkuk 1:6 continues with the Lord rousing a fierce nation, the Chaldeans.

So where was God’s answer headed?

Then the Lord answered me and said:
Write the vision;
make it plain on tablets,
so that a runner may read it

Habakkuk 2:2, NRSV

So far, the book of Habakkuk appears to have presented the tension of God’s covenant faithfulness.  (Pending further study of verses 1:14-17).  Now,  Habakkuk 2:2 introduces the Lord’s answer.

The answer of Habakkuk 2:4 is quoted by Paul in Romans 1:17.  David Stansfield proposes that Romans 1:14-17 (according to David’s paper, see next) has an expression of the Habakkuk 2:4 answer, unfolding in Paul’s recent and present history, to the tension of God’s covenant faithfulness.

Romans 1:14-17

See David Stansfield’s paper, The Argument of Romans 1:14-17 (2019).

The subsequent research task

David’s paper presents a possible interpretation of Romans 1:14-17.  However, the interpretation is significantly different to many other interpretations and translations of the Greek passage.

The subsequent research task is therefore to articulate how this interpretation contributes to the exegesis of the passage as a whole.  Since the passage is the introduction to Romans, it is important to articulate how this interpretation contributes to the exegesis of Romans as a whole.

Researchers are welcome

David welcomes researchers having a good understanding of Greek, Hebrew, the book of Habakkuk, Romans and/or the Biblical story (the Christian historical metanarrative).

The immediate research task involves placing the argument of Romans 1:14-17 within the wider introduction and argument of Romans 1-2 and beyond.

David will support your research by:

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash