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Gaining the correct Definition of righteous or righteousness is crucial to living a godly life.
|We are told that the scriptures are "profitable ... for instruction in righteousness," but if asked to define righteousness, we are not able to easily and comfortably do it.
"But flee from these things, you man of God;
and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance [and] gentleness."
(1 Timothy 6:11)
"Now flee from youthful lusts, and pursue righteousness,
faith, love [and] peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart." (2 Timothy 2:22)
"All Scripture is inspired by God and
profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction,
for training in righteousness." (2 Timothy 3:16)
The reason for our unfamiliarity with righteousness is not because the Bible hasn't commonly used the word. The Bible uses the word righteous or righteousness more than 600 times! Then where is the confusion? Two sources:
The word 'righteous' is not used because its meaning is not popular. A quick list of synonyms such as virtuous, pure, moral, chaste, ethical and pious reveal that there is not much affinity toward the concept of righteousness in our generation.
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How many times do we meet up with these words in our newspapers and magazines? Even more revealing is to hear how many time one hears this word come up among Christians. Is it possible we don't speak it because we don't think it?
2) Translation difficulty
In one sense the translation of the word is easy. There is only one root word for righteousness used in the Bible. The Hebrew word sadak is used in the Old Testament, and one Greek word dikaisune for the New Testament. The Septuagint, a Greek translation of the OT, regularly used this Greek word for the Hebrew word sadak.
The problem is that it is simply not commonly used in our culture anymore. We will trace the three stages of the definition for righteous in the next page.