Messianic Apologetics

Addressing the Theological and Spiritual Issues of the Broad Messianic Movement


Literally speaking, the genitive clause (genitive is the Greek case indicating possession) dia pisteōs Iēsou Christou should be rendered as “through faith of Jesus Christ” (YLT). Some modern study Bibles are having to place footnotes for verses like Galatians 2:16, indicating the alternative rendering, “Or by the faithfulness of Jesus Christ.”

Anyone who enters into Pauline theological studies today will easily encounter the fact that there are scholars and exegetes who think that the term “works of law” or ergōn nomou—appearing first in Galatians (2:16[3x]; 3:2, 5, 10), and then appearing again in Romans (3:20, 28)—actually does designate something other than “works/deeds/actions required by the Mosaic Law,” or at least something a bit more specific than just “observing the law” (NIV) in general. These proposals, though, have been met with a great deal of criticism, and even some hostility, by those of particular theological traditions. Alternatives to the customary meaning of “works of law” have been proposed more frequently, as New Testament theologians, over the past fifty years or so, have had greater access to ancient Jewish literature and resources, and this information has had to be considered in their exegesis.

John McKee discusses the great tragedy, particularly of various non-Jewish people who get involved in Messianic things—how they can be seen to commit apostasy against the God of Israel. This happens by abandoning the Pauline letters as Scripture, the Divinity and Messiahship of Yeshua, and later abandoning a Supreme Being altogether.

Many people within today’s Messianic sphere of influence recognize the need to interpret the letters of the Apostle Paul from the vantage point of their First Century recipients in the Mediterranean. Yet, many of the same are unwilling to read the Torah from the vantage point of its original Ancient Israelite recipients in the Ancient Near East.

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