The mantra, “justice is at the heart of the Gospel,” based on the belief that “Jesus was committed to justice” is virtually ubiquitous in the Western Christian church. The word “justice” is, however, almost never defined, and the assertion and its underlying belief are almost never defended—indeed, they are taken for granted, even seen as self-‐‑evident first principles. This thesis asks whether this notion is, in reality, a faithful exposition of the Gospel, and suggests that, in justice’s ascendance in Western Christian thought and praxis, the church has lost, thrown, or given away something extremely precious: righteousness. The discussion and argument of this thesis focusses on a number of key words in the Hebrew Bible and Greek New Testament, in particular qdx, dikaiosu/nh, and cognates. It opens with a discussion of the meaning of words and how we understand them, in particular words in translation, and it flags the ways in which translations of the key terms have changed over the centuries. This is followed by an examination of the meanings of the words at issue, including an extended (albeit infinitesimal, given the libraries of words that have been written on the subject) discussion of the meanings of the word “justice.” The third chapter looks at the function and impact of metaphor, especially in relation to biblical language. It suggests that a significant reason for the ascendance of justice in the Western church lies in the historical use of, and the eventual “hardening” of, certain biblical metaphors—a process aided by the specific ways in which the biblical words studied here (and several others) have been translated into Greek, into Latin, and thence into English. These forces and factors have resulted, it is suggested, in the establishment of a forensic paradigm, out of which the Western Christian church has long operated, a paradigm that is essentially hospitable to justice and hostile to righteousness. Chapter 4 discusses the possibility that the notion of righteousness has, in fact, collapsed, and been collapsed, into the notion of justice, and that this event was preceded by the collapse of the notion of mercy into justice, and then of aÓga¿ph into justice. The suggestion is made that this collapse of righteousness into justice is in reality a category mistake, a confusion of logical types, and that righteousness (and behind it, dikaiosu/nh and qdx) are, in reality, best understood as ethically contentless. The final chapter asks what difference all of this might make “on the ground,” i.e., in and to the life of the church and individual Christians, and it identifies questions for further exploration.