Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Habakkuk: "Minor" Prophet?

Complete: “The just shall live by _____.” Faith (Habakkuk 2:4)

The assertion that “the just shall live by faith” was made by the prophet Habakkuk. The word the King James Bible renders “just” is more commonly translated “righteous” (ASV, CEV, ESV, HCSB, NASB, NIV, NLT, NRSV, RSV). The Hebrew tsaddiyq can equally mean “just, lawful, righteous”.

The book of Habakkuk is the eighth of twelve books classified as minor prophets. The apostle Paul used the Habakkuk quotation “the just shall live by faith” in composing his most influential letter, Romans (Romans 1:17). In fact, scholars concur that the Habakkuk reference serves as part of Paul’s thesis statement for the entire book. This “minor prophet” was significant enough to find its way into the core of one of the most important theological treatises in history.

The prophets, and specifically the minor prophets, are often neglected by today’s preachers? Why is that? Is it because it is assumed Jesus fulfilled their teachings? Is it because they are difficult to discern without knowledge of their context? Is it because they are understood and their social values are difficult to accept?

“It ain’t those parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand.” -  Mark Twain (1835-1910)

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