Romans 16:26

"but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith-". ESV My emphasis.

Possibly there are two ways in which "the obedience of faith" might be seen:

A. Obedience produces faith.

B. Faith produces obedience.

Does the Greek here [hypakoen pisteos] positively suggest the meaning is both A. and B. or just one of them?

3 Answers 3


εἰς ὑπακοὴν πίστεως [Stephanus TR 1550, undisputed]

... having been made known to all the nations for obedience of faith -- YLT

'Obedience' in this passage is υπακοήν 'hearing under' or 'subject to hearing' or 'hearing in subjection'. However one expresses that in English, there is an agreement between 'underness' and 'hearing'.

'Obedience' in this passage is dative singular and 'faith' is genitive singular (Bagster's Analytical Greek Lexicon p326 and p413) and the preposition is eis meaning to or towards or unto.

The translation can only be 'to (or unto) obedience of faith' and not otherwise. The obedience is that which is originated by or produced by or caused by - faith. That is the effect of using the genitive case.

This is the hearing of faith, not the exerting of flesh in the pursuit of a self-induced righteousness by way of legal works.

It is a very similar word to that used in Philippians 2:8 ὑπήκοος - became 'obedient' unto death, even the death of the cross.

The foundation of the faith, wrought in Christ, was a matter of faithful obedience, a hearing aright and a responding thereto.

Thus also the reception of that redemption is by the hearing of faith also.


The Greek phrase ὑπακοὴν πίστεως (Rom 1:5, 16:26) can only be translated "obedience of faith", or, "obedience of faithfulness". Since the "faith" is genitive, the obedience is contingent upon faith and never the other way around.

Thus it is correctly and interpretatively translated by:

  • NIV: obedience that comes from faith
  • BSB: obedience that comes from faith
  • ISV: obedience that springs from faith

Indeed, Ellicott observes in his comments on Rom 1:5 -

For obedience to the faith among all nations.—Literally, For (to produce) obedience of faith (the obedience which springs from faith) among all the Gentiles.

This is one of Paul's favorite themes which he expresses in different ways:

  • Rom 1:17 - For the gospel reveals the righteousness of God that comes by faith from start to finish, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
  • 1 Thess 1:3 - and continually recalling before our God and Father your work of faith, your labor of love, and your enduring hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Thus, Paul clearly teaches that faith/trust in Christ is what produces obedience, never the other way around.


Both Romans 1:5 and 16:26 have "hypokoen" -hypo;beneath and akouo;to hear.

Obedience/submissiveness [beneath/being under] what is heard [what the Lord is saying].

Helps Word-studies-"hypakoe-obedience- literally submission to what is heard. i.e. obedience as a response to someone speaking".

J.D.G. Dunn in "Word Biblical Commentary" says in regard to its use here, "hypakoen" -"give ear to, answer, heed". Also he writes- "The genitive construction is probably to be taken as embracing both [my emphasis] the sense "response which is faith" and "obedience which stems from faith".

[It is J. Dunn's use of the word "probably"that caused me to ask this question and see if with further information "probably" could be changed to "certainly"].

This answer is only half of "both". The half that looks at submissive hearing, a "response which is faith".

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