The Word of God tells us time and again to "study" the scriptures and to mediate on them. Most of us read the Bible, but, do we study it? Do we mediate on it? Sorry, this is a long post, but please, read (Genesis 15:6) then study it. As always, if you have questions or want to add, please, you know what to do... The exegetical analysis of (Genesis 15:6) reveals intercontextuality between the Old Testament and the New Testament. This interconnection between testaments is frequently used by the gospel writers and it is particularly seen in some of Paul’s epistles. As a result, this continuity has tremendous implications in relation to systematic theology, particularly, in the areas of soteriology and eschatology. The entire passage has only five Hebrew words, but the theological implications are immeasurable. The understanding of (Genesis 15:6) necessarily brings about the revelation of God’s saving grace to all humanity. The aforementioned passage gives us an example from the Old Testament, of God’s “crediting” Abram with righteousness because of his faith, which was further explored in the New Testament by Paul in both (Romans 4:3 and Galatians 3:6). This same “reckoning” is applicable to believers who put their faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior; thus, showing parallelism and a continuum between testaments in the areas of systematic theology already mentioned. Three Hebrew words have been selected for our perusal to conduct this exegesis, but only one word in particular “ וַיַּחְשְׁבֶהָ” will be studied in detail. The reckoned presented in the passage comes from God, and it is not something done by men sua sponte or because it is deserved. An interesting fact is this, although Abram had been demonstrating his faith “through” his actions, it was his “belief” in the Lord, not his actions, that made him right with God. In the same way, according to Paul, we too can have the right relationship with God by trusting Him (Romans 4). The Hebrew word “חָשַׁב” is the primitive root word of the selected inflected word. The English definition of the Hebrew word selected would be translated as “reckoned,” and we see the different applications of this verb in the Qal: to reckon; Niphal: be reckoned; Piel: reckon; and Hithpael: to be reckoned. As inflected, the word has a (prefix ו) which is demonstrative. adv. and conj. (so, then, and); and a (suffix הָ) which is 3rd person, feminine, singular. As shown on the scripture selected, וַיַּחְשְׁבֶהָ means “and He reckoned.” Theologically speaking, the usage of the word “reckon” is to show a transition from one entity to another, mainly, from the faith of a human, to the actions of God, in that it is God, and not the human actions alone, that bring righteousness to the lives of humans. By Abram’s faith first, inadvertently, Moses writes that righteousness second, is the result from this “cause & effect” symbiotic relationship. Paul expands on this theological concept because it has implications, not only for Abram at that time, but for all believers who put their trust in Jesus for posterity. This particular Hebrew word has a myriad of usages and the semantic ranges is included herein: to think, to devise, to reckon, to regard, to invent, to consider, to be accounted, to plan, to reckon oneself, regard, value, compute, invent, make a judgment, imagine, devise, mean, to esteem, be thought, be esteemed, to be computed, to be imputed, to think upon, be mindful of, to think to do so, to count, to be considered. Because of the semantic range, it is safe to imply that this word, which can mean “to plan,” has futuristic implications and not just for Abram as it related to his reckoned righteousness. This futuristic idea is covered by Paul’s eschatological explanation as well as the transformational soteriology that happens to the believer, and explained in (Romans and Galatians). When we examine the different English translations, we can see that the same idea of “cause and effect” is presented; for the fact that Abram “believed” first, and as a result, God counted it or “reckon” to him as righteousness. The formal equivalency translations vary in that some use a semi colon (KJV & NASB) while others use a coma (ESV & GNV) between Abram believing and God reckoning him as righteousness. Conversely, the functional equivalency translation have all opted to use a comma to convey the same idea. As discussed earlier, Paul uses intercontextuality in order to assimilate Abram’s faith and righteousness to that of those who believe in Jesus Christ (Romans 4:3 and Galatians 3:6) and Paul had this idea of divine righteousness that carried him throughout his ministry. Paul was not the only one who used (Genesis 15:6) to convey this message, James did the same (James 2:23). The fact that righteousness was a fundamental Old Testament virtue, characterized by a godly life lived in conformity with the law, was to no surprise, the reason why Abram enjoyed God’s favor, and the reason why believers can enjoy the same. On the other hand, this was also the reason why New Testament writers would include intercontextuality it in their writings: to prove the connectivity between the two testaments. We now know that, even before Abram proved righteous by his deeds, he was “reckoned” as righteous because of his faith. When crises appear, most people have the tendency to show lack of faith while Abram showed the opposite. In total, this key verse in the Old Testament is quoted four times in the New Testament. Although faith was something that everyone in the Bible was expected to exercise, Abram’s ability to do so made him recognized as righteousness even before Jesus sacrifice came into effect. For all intended purposes, Abram had the characteristics of a faithful person to God. Not only because he obeyed God, but because he believed God. As a result, Abraham was reckoned to him as righteousness. Because of this, God made him a great nation and changed his name from Abram to Abraham. In the New Testament, Paul presents Abram as a good example of someone who was saved by faith, not because of the law. By emphasizing faith, Paul was not saying that God’s laws were not unimportant, but that it would be “impossible” to be saved by the law alone. In Galatians, Paul was bringing to the attention of the Judaizers that Gentiles were also saved by faith, not just by keeping Jewish laws, and we call this phenomena, God’s Amazing Grace.
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