I've basically always used these words synonymously. Can someone elaborate on whether there is a difference?

  • Based on @Mallioch's answer, I think I misinterpreted what swasheck wrote. Rephrased the answer accordingly.
    – user474
    Commented Apr 5, 2012 at 14:08
  • Hi :). I was wondering if you could post a link to what I wrote that you may have misinterpreted. Sometimes I lose focus in the middle of typing and am not so clear. Thanks
    – swasheck
    Commented Apr 5, 2012 at 15:23
  • @swasheck, here it is: christianity.stackexchange.com/a/6894/971. I don't think you were unclear. After I read it a second time, I wasn't sure how I had come to the conclusion I had... Also, you should be able to see the full original question (which includes your quote) in the edit history.
    – user474
    Commented Apr 5, 2012 at 15:35
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    thanks. So many times, in attempts to cover all angles, I use too many words and just wind up in Germany when I wanted to go to Turkey.
    – swasheck
    Commented Apr 5, 2012 at 15:38

1 Answer 1


Typically the word "righteous" or "just" are simply alternative translations of the same word, "dikaios" (δικαιος and cognate verbs and such). There is simply no difference.

I'll go ahead and add an analogous example that people also often confuse, and that is the difference between "faith" and "belief". In Greek they are translations of the same root. In English, you don't say "I faith (verb) in something" but you would say "I believe (verb) in something". But you would say as Jude does and call something "the faith (noun) once and for all delivered". You could add a helper verb to make faith work verbally like "I have faith in God". But all that is just English usage. In Greek the verbs/nouns/adjectives are all built off the same root, "pist-" (πιστ-) and mean the same thing.

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    Hebrew does similar. Most words descend from a verbal root.
    – Frank Luke
    Commented Apr 5, 2012 at 13:39
  • While this is absolutely true, there is still interpretation required in order to determine the subject/objects of the verb.
    – swasheck
    Commented Apr 5, 2012 at 15:31
  • @Mallioch I just want to add some notes; (A.) The Greek and Hebrew words are "δίκαιος, and צַדִּיק; From Gal. 3:6, and Gen. 15:6. (B.) They literally mean "Just"--one who acts morally, or lawfully. (C.) Where Greek does recognize the Morality component separate from the Lawful one, the "Religious" context emphatically argues that "Morality" can be imputed apart from the law/lawfulness, (as in Abraham's case). Commented Jun 10, 2015 at 0:44
  • @Mallioch, How is dikaios different from old testament's tsedeq?
    – Pacerier
    Commented Feb 12, 2018 at 10:14
  • Well, that's super easy to answer yet very difficult at the some time. Easy answer - when the Septuagint translator encounters tsedeq and translates it δίκαιος, he means for them to be equivalent. When Paul uses it, his meaning is likely derived from his interpretation of the Septuagint or Hebrew text, whichever he is using at the time. So it is probably going to be very similar. But when Demosthenes uses δίκαιος, it probably means something rather different. Hard answer - words don't have intrinsic meaning. You have to look at context, background, etc.
    – Mallioch
    Commented Feb 12, 2018 at 13:34