Lesson #27: Righteousness and Biblical Context

Ask about righteousness: What is righteousness/unrighteousness?

Define righteous (online dictionary): morally right or justifiable

Define unrighteous (online dictionary): wicked

Ask about your spectrum of righteousness: Using the online definitions, where do you feel you land on the spectrum of righteousness?…I often compare and contrast myself with Jesus, himself. Honestly, I often feel that I shouldn’t be called ‘righteous’. We, including me, often think, “Only Jesus can truly be considered righteous.” Do you feel the same way?

Talk about what the Bible says about righteousness: Let’s see what the Bible defines ‘righteousness’ as. Let’s see if it is any different than the online dictionary.

Define Righteousness (Bible dictionary): purity of heart and rectitude (morally correct behavior or thinking) of life; the being and doing right (I’m going to intentionally leave out the 2nd part of the definition, temporarily)

Ask about who has mastered the path of righteousness: From what we have seen so far on righteousness, who has mastered this path of life? Does your life reflect righteousness? Why or why not?…We don’t feel that we should be labeled righteous because we have done unrighteous things.

Talk about unrighteousness: Before we dive further into righteousness, let’s look at the opposite side of the spectrum, unrighteousness.

Ask about unrighteousness: According to the Bible, who is considered unrighteous and what does it say about unrighteous people?…

Read 1 Corinthians 6:1-10…(specifically 7-10, don’t look at 11 yet)…It says, “Or do you not know that wrongdoers (‘the unrighteous’ in other translations) will not inherit the kingdom of heaven”…“Neither fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, homosexuals, thieves, covetous, drunkards, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God”

Talk about scripture: Sounds tough and disappointing, right? Have you committed any of these? Do you identify with any of these titles?

Talk about the importance of scriptural context: Without looking at the context, it is easy to look at these verses and say, “Shoot, I guess I’m not going to inherit the kingdom of God. I’ve done this, this and that…” Take a second thought. Many people (including many Christ followers) will use scripture like this out of context to justify their oppressive actions towards another group, especially individuals that identify themselves as homosexuals (even if they also identify as a Christ follower). Unfortunately, people take scripture out of context all of the time. When we take scripture without the full context, we might interpret it completely different than what it was intended to be interpreted as. Furthermore, if you tell ¾ of a story to someone and the full story to another, you may get a completely different reaction from them.

Talk about the scriptural context of 1 Corinthians 6:1-11…Let’s look at the context. What does verse 11 say? What does it say about righteousness?…If we have put our faith in Christ, those labels of sin are removed because of what He did on the cross. Our sins don’t define us anymore. They have been ‘washed away’.

Talk about the second part of the definition of righteousness: Time to talk about the second part of the Bible dictionary’s definition of righteousness. Let’s get the full context of the definition as well.

Define Righteousness (Bible dictionary): The righteousness of faith is the justification which is received by faith.

Talk about what our new label is: In other words, faith in Jesus Christ gives us a new label: Righteous Child of God

Ask about your faith: Do you have faith in Jesus Christ?…With faith in Him, you are righteous even though you sin. We will inherit the kingdom of God.

Talk about other scripture that has the same message: Let’s make sure we are interpreting this correctly. Read Romans 3:21-23Verse 22 states, “This [righteousness of God] is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.” Verse 23 states, “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” It has a pretty clear message here. It is basically a summary of 1 Corinthians 6:1-11.

Reflect back to 1 Corinthians 6:9…Looking back at 1 Corinthians 6:9, “the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God,” we now have a better feeling now than we did before because we can see the full scope and we now understand the complete meaning of righteousness. Isn’t it nice to finally understand? This is the reason why we should always look into the entire context that is around a verse or section in the Bible.

Ask again about the spectrum of righteousness: When seeing the full context and full definition now, do you consider yourself righteous? Why?

Talk about the Bible and righteousness: According to the Bible, we deserve what?…not to inherit the kingdom of heaven. What has been given to us by God himself through Jesus Christ?…the kingdom of heaven through faith in Christ who has washed away out sins, giving us the opportunity to connect with God and become righteous through Him.

Ask about confusion with scripture: Have you ever looked at a verse and had a thought that it doesn’t match what you have been taught?…There are many reasons why this could have happened.

Talk about the potential reasons why we misinterpret scripture: What are some reasons why we misinterpret scripture?

  • We probably read a verse or two instead of the whole chapter
  • We probably didn’t read into the cultural context of the section
  • We are modifying scripture the way we hope it would be like

Ask about why we should interpret scripture correctly: Why must we understand how to interpret scripture correctly?…So we can respond appropriately.

Read 2 Timothy 4:1-8

Ask about your abilities to use the Bible: Do you feel equipped to defend your faith? Do you understand context behind scripture?

Talk about equipping yourself: Equip yourself!!!

Read Ephesians 6:10-20

Summary of lesson:

  • We are only made righteous through our faith in Jesus
  • Only the righteous can enter the kingdom of God
  • Know the context of scripture so that you can properly defend your faith



Bible Study Tools. (2017). Retrieved from http://www.biblestudytools.com/

NIV Life Application Study Bible. (2011). Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan.

The Bible Knowledge Commentary: New Testament. (2004). Colorado Springs, Colorado: International Bible Society.

The Bible Knowledge Commentary: Old Testament. (2004). Colorado Springs, Colorado: International Bible Society.

Unger, M. F. (1976) Unger’s bible dictionary. Chicago, IL: The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago.

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