I think these 5 verses are some of the most analysed in the whole Bible, and they were exactly the kind verses that made me wait so long before preaching on Romans. Almost every word in every verse has a variety of possible meanings, and that’s before you start talking about all the choices of grammatical constructions.
The following are exegetical decisions I’ve made so far:
1. I’m convinced, contra the New Perspective, that there is a moral element to righteousness and works of the law/faith contrast, not just a exclusive/inclusive contrast – I get this from my reading of Romans 1:18-3:20
2. I don’t think righteousness should be defined as covenant faithfulness. I think the broader biblical arguments for this definition are weak. However, I also have a problem with the traditional reformed interpretation that has righteousness of God meaning ‘God’s justifying activity’ in verse 21 and God’s justice in v26. I think the same word used in the same short passage should mean the same thing. I am working with a definition of righteousness I found here, and trying to see how it can work in Romans 3:21 as well as Romans 3:26
3. I have gone for the subjective genitive in verse 22 – the righteousness of God is revealed through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. I don’t really think this is a big deal for the passage, but gramaticaly I think it is slightly stronger, and it also fits well with Romans 1:17 where the righteousness of God is ‘from faith for faith’ which I take to be saying from God’s/Christ’s faithfulness for those who have faith.
Now I just have to put it all together….