Blessed Are Those Who Thirst for Justice

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“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice.” I’ve always heard this verse from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount translated as “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness.” I stopped short when I heard someone quote it with the word justice instead. 

Righteousness-Justice

But then I remembered that the Greek word for justice is the same as the Greek word for righteousness. Whenever either word appears in the New Testament, it’s most accurate to translate it as righteousness-justice.

Usually, translators choose one or the other.

Hunger and Thirst

I am learning that part of my upbringing within the predominantly white American church has meant I have hungered and thirsted for righteousness, but I have often ignored the twin calling to hunger and thirst for justice. 

I’m thinking about this verse all the more today, as many people in Louisville, Kentucky and around our nation protest and lament and despair over the decision not to charge the police officers involved in Breonna Taylor’s death. They are hungering and thirsting for justice, and today it feels like there is no bread or water. 

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice . . . 

and Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness . . . 

for they will be filled. 


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Hi, I’m Amy Julia.

I write about faith, family, disability, and privilege.

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