(Originally published in New Dictionary of Theology. David F. Wright, Sinclair B. Ferguson, J.I. Packer (eds), 590-592. IVP. Reproduced by permission of the author.)
Righteousness. The basic meaning of ‘righteousness’ and its cognates in the Bible derives from the Hebrew sedeq, which was usually translated in the LXX as dikaiosynē. It thus denotes not so much the abstract idea of justice or virtue, as right standing and consequent right behaviour, within a community. English translates this semantic field with two different roots: ‘right’, ‘righteous’, and ‘righteousness’ and ‘just’, ‘justice’, ‘justify’ and ‘justification’. In Heb. and Gk., however, these ideas all belong together linguistically and theologically.