“For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.’” (Romans 1:17).
As they appear in the Greek text, this English phrase is but two words—an adverb (kathos) and a verb (gegraptai). Though few in number, they are mighty and impactful. In addition to their being an enduring testament to the preciseness of God’s word (see Tuesday’s blog), an indissoluble link between the Scriptures’ Old Testament and New Testament (see Wednesday’s post) and a proclamation of the permanence of God’s Word (see yesterday’s post), they also are a demonstration of God’s approval of proof texting.
Thirteen times in the book of Romans, this phrase (or a hybrid of it) is used. Though Paul does not identify the specific chapter and verse he quotes, the book of Romans displays God’s approval of using a Biblical text to support and prove a claim made.
In the book of Romans alone, Paul proof texts the following assertions:
- Hypocrisy by God’s people engenders blasphemy among those who are not His people (2:24).
- God is utterly trustworthy, even if what He says contradicts the thoughts and words of all humanity (3:4).
- All humanity is guilty of sin (3:9-10).
- Because of his faith, Abraham is the spiritual ancestor of all subsequent believers (4:15-17).
- Nothing (not even death) can separate us from the love of God (8:35-36).
- God’s eternal plan and purpose of how and by whom His salvation would be brought to humanity was not determined by an individual’s innate goodness or superior righteousness (9:13).
- Christ and His gospel are a stumbling stone to some because of their determination to pursue righteousness in ways God has not authorized (9:30-33).
- Gospel preaching is essential to one’s salvation (10:14-15).
- The grace of spiritual blessings is given by God when humans seek Him as He prescribes (11:7-8).
- All humanity is saved the same way—faith in and obedience to the new covenant (11:25-26).
- To obey God and save us from our sins Christ did not please Himself (15:3).
- God’s eternal purpose of salvation in Christ has always included the Gentiles (15:9).
- Paul’s desire to evangelize where no gospel preacher had gone before is in harmony with God’s will (15:21).
“As it is written” preaching is divinely approved and practiced in the Scriptures. It is possible because truth and the principles of righteousness are eternal and unchanging.