Thielman is convinced that if one is to understand how justification functions in Paul's writings, one needs to understand how the righteousness language functions in Romans 1:17. He argues in this article that part of the reason for the volatile interpretive history of this verse is that the phrase is polyvalent. He further argues that the "righteousness of God” has three meanings in Romans 1:17. It refers to God's saving actions, but also to the gift of acquittal from sin before God, received through faith. However, "δικαιοσύνη θεοῦ" would have referred for the first readers most obviously to a property of God’s character—God is fair and even-handed, and equitable in the way he gives salvation. Thielman offers a short history of interpretation of this text.
Source: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, 2011. 14 pages.