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    Q: #450. How many people are called "righteous" in the Bible?

By: Steve Shirley

    A: The primary Hebrew word for "righteous" in the Old Testament is "tsaddiyq" (Strong's: 6662). It is interesting to note that this word is used to describe only one man in the whole Old Testament: Noah. However, "tsaddiyq" is used to describe God in numerous places in the Old Testament. When we get to the New Testament, the Greek word "dikaios" (Strong's: 1342) is used to describe those who are called "righteous." Both "tsaddiyq" and "dikaios" are also translated as "just" in some verses. Using these words, I have compiled a list of who is called "righteous" or "just" in the Bible. Following is this list.

Called "righteous / just"Verses
1. Noah(Gen 6:9)(Gen 7:1)
2. God (Ezr 9:15)(Ps 11:7)(Ps 129:4)(Jer 12:1)(Lam 1:18)(Dan 9:14)
3. Jesus(Isa 53:11)(Zech 9:9)(Mt 27:19,24)(Acts 3:14)(Acts 7:52)(1 Jn 2:1,29)
4. God The Father(Jn 17:25)
5. Lot(2 Pet 2:8)
6. Joseph of Arimathea(Lk 23:50)
7. Abel (Heb 11:4)(Mt 23:35)(1 Jn 3:12)
8. Joseph(Mt 1:19)
9. Cornelius(Acts 10:22)
10. John The Baptist(Mk 6:20)
11. Zacharias(Lk 1:5-6)
12. Elisabeth (Lk 1:5-6)
13. Simeon(Lk 2:25)

     Noah, Daniel, and Job were said by God to have "righteousness" (Heb: "tsdaqah") (Ezek 14:14,20). Similarly, in the New Testament, in (Heb 11:32-33), Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, and the prophets are said to have "wrought righteousness" (NASB: "performed acts of righteousness") (Gr: "dikaiosune"). In (Heb 7:1-2), we see that the name Melchizedek (from Gen 14:18-20) means "King of righteousness."

     Using different Hebrew words, the word "perfect" is used to describe (Noah: Gen 6:9) and (Asa: 1 Kin 15:14). In (Job 1:1,8)(Job 2:3), God calls Job "perfect and upright." Satan is said to have been created "perfect" (Ezek 28:12,15) (until he sinned and was cast out of Heaven).

     Of course, no one is truly righteous (or perfect or upright). Only God is truly righteous (Ps 145:17)(Zeph 3:5)(plus verses above). The people above were called "righteous" because their lives were filled with "choices" to put God first, and not sin. This was why "righteous / perfect / upright" Noah was saved from the flood. He "found grace in God's eyes" (Gen 6:8). Why did Noah "find grace?" He "chose" to "walk with God" (Gen 6:9). Zacharias and Elizabeth in (Lk 1:5-6) were called "righteous" because "walked blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord." They chose not to sin.

     However, even though their actions were "righteous," they still fell short of the "perfect" righteousness of God, which is what ALL people need to get into Heaven. (All men are sinners who fall short: Ecc 7:20, Rom 3:10, Rom 5:12, 1 Jn 1:8,10.) The only way we can attain this perfect righteousness is through Jesus Christ. He lived the perfect, sinless life that no human could ever live, and when we accept Him as Lord and Savior, His "perfect righteousness" (and sinlessness) is "imputed" to us (2 Cor 5:19,21)(Rom 4:7-8, 24-25)(Phil 3:9).

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