What words do the Biblical writers use for “justice?”
In the Holman Christian Standard Bible, the word “justice” is used 150 times. What words did the Biblical writers, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, use for this important term in the original language?
Because Biblical Hebrew has few nouns, many words in that language do double and triple duty, and more. This is true for mishpat. This Hebrew words has many meanings in addition to justice, including judgement, law, right, and privilege. This word is used over 400 times in the Hebrew Scriptures.
The Greek writers used four words in Christian Scriptures.
Krisis was used forty-six times. It carries the meaning of decision or judgement.
Vengeance or vindication is the meaning behind the Greek word ekdikásis. It was used nine times by the authors.
The word diké was used by the writers in three instances. The point of this word was more procedural, containing the ideas of law, execution of sentence, or penalty.
The most common word in the Christian Scriptures for justice was dikaiosuné, used 86 times. While used for righteousness and justice, it also carries with it the idea of receiving what was due.
Each of these words used in the Bible is consistent with the view of justice as we have defined it.