The Key Verse of the Reformation

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)

The biblical phrase “the just shall live by faith” first occurs in the Old Testament (Habakkuk 2:4), where it describes the marked contrast between those who perpetrate injustice (in this passage the Babylonians) and the righteous who live by their faithfulness. It later becomes a key phrase in the New Testament.

The apostle Paul quoted it twice (Rom. 1:16–17 and Gal. 3:11) in a spiritual sense to show the crucial point of salvation through faith. The author of Hebrews quoted this verse when talking about the perseverance of believers under hardship (10:37–38). Notably, these verses help introduce what has commonly come to be called “the Faith Chapter” (ch. 11). Read more