Also see definition of "Faith" in Word Study
Study Dictionary
Index A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Table of Contents
NAVE: Faith
EBD: Faith
ISBE: FAITH
Faint | Fainting | Fair | Fair Havens | Fairs | Faith | Faithful Sayings | Faithful, The | Faithfulness | Faithless | Falcon

Faith

Faith [EBD]

Faith is in general the persuasion of the mind that a certain statement is true (Phil. 1:27; 2 Thess. 2:13). Its primary idea is trust. A thing is true, and therefore worthy of trust. It admits of many degrees up to full assurance of faith, in accordance with the evidence on which it rests.

Faith is the result of teaching (Rom. 10:14-17). Knowledge is an essential element in all faith, and is sometimes spoken of as an equivalent to faith (John 10:38; 1 John 2:3). Yet the two are distinguished in this respect, that faith includes in it assent, which is an act of the will in addition to the act of the understanding. Assent to the truth is of the essence of faith, and the ultimate ground on which our assent to any revealed truth rests is the veracity of God.

Historical faith is the apprehension of and assent to certain statements which are regarded as mere facts of history.

Temporary faith is that state of mind which is awakened in men (e.g., Felix) by the exhibition of the truth and by the influence of religious sympathy, or by what is sometimes styled the common operation of the Holy Spirit.

Saving faith is so called because it has eternal life inseparably connected with it. It cannot be better defined than in the words of the Assembly's Shorter Catechism: "Faith in Jesus Christ is a saving grace, whereby we receive and rest upon him alone for salvation, as he is offered to us in the gospel."

The object of saving faith is the whole revealed Word of God. Faith accepts and believes it as the very truth most sure. But the special act of faith which unites to Christ has as its object the person and the work of the Lord Jesus Christ (John 7:38; Acts 16:31). This is the specific act of faith by which a sinner is justified before God (Rom. 3:22, 25; Gal. 2:16; Phil. 3:9; John 3:16-36; Acts 10:43; 16:31). In this act of faith the believer appropriates and rests on Christ alone as Mediator in all his offices.

This assent to or belief in the truth received upon the divine testimony has always associated with it a deep sense of sin, a distinct view of Christ, a consenting will, and a loving heart, together with a reliance on, a trusting in, or resting in Christ. It is that state of mind in which a poor sinner, conscious of his sin, flees from his guilty self to Christ his Saviour, and rolls over the burden of all his sins on him. It consists chiefly, not in the assent given to the testimony of God in his Word, but in embracing with fiducial reliance and trust the one and only Saviour whom God reveals. This trust and reliance is of the essence of faith. By faith the believer directly and immediately appropriates Christ as his own. Faith in its direct act makes Christ ours. It is not a work which God graciously accepts instead of perfect obedience, but is only the hand by which we take hold of the person and work of our Redeemer as the only ground of our salvation.

Saving faith is a moral act, as it proceeds from a renewed will, and a renewed will is necessary to believing assent to the truth of God (1 Cor. 2:14; 2 Cor. 4:4). Faith, therefore, has its seat in the moral part of our nature fully as much as in the intellectual. The mind must first be enlightened by divine teaching (John 6:44; Acts 13:48; 2 Cor. 4:6; Eph. 1:17, 18) before it can discern the things of the Spirit.

Faith is necessary to our salvation (Mark 16:16), not because there is any merit in it, but simply because it is the sinner's taking the place assigned him by God, his falling in with what God is doing.

The warrant or ground of faith is the divine testimony, not the reasonableness of what God says, but the simple fact that he says it. Faith rests immediately on, "Thus saith the Lord." But in order to this faith the veracity, sincerity, and truth of God must be owned and appreciated, together with his unchangeableness. God's word encourages and emboldens the sinner personally to transact with Christ as God's gift, to close with him, embrace him, give himself to Christ, and take Christ as his. That word comes with power, for it is the word of God who has revealed himself in his works, and especially in the cross. God is to be believed for his word's sake, but also for his name's sake.

Faith in Christ secures for the believer freedom from condemnation, or justification before God; a participation in the life that is in Christ, the divine life (John 14:19; Rom. 6:4-10; Eph. 4:15,16, etc.); "peace with God" (Rom. 5:1); and sanctification (Acts 26:18; Gal. 5:6; Acts 15:9).

All who thus believe in Christ will certainly be saved (John 6:37, 40; 10:27, 28; Rom. 8:1).

The faith=the gospel (Acts 6:7; Rom. 1:5; Gal. 1:23; 1 Tim. 3:9; Jude 1:3).

Faith [NAVE]

FAITH.
2 Sam. 22:31; Psa. 5:11; Psa. 7:1; Psa. 9:9, 10; Psa. 18:30; Psa. 32:10; Psa. 33:18, 19; Psa. 34:8, 22 vs. 1-8;; Psa. 2:12. Psa. 36:7; Psa. 40:4; Psa. 64:10; Psa. 78:7 vs. 5-7.; Psa. 84:5, 12; Psa. 112:5, 7, 8; Psa. 118:8, 9; Psa. 125:1; Psa. 147:11; Prov. 3:5; Prov. 14:26; Prov. 22:19; Prov. 28:25; Prov. 29:25; Prov. 30:5; Isa. 10:20; Isa. 14:32; Isa. 26:3; Isa. 30:15; Isa. 57:13; Jer. 17:7, 8; Jer. 39:18; Nah. 1:7; Matt. 9:22; Matt. 21:21, 22; Mark 9:23, 24; Mark 11:23, 24; Luke 7:50; Luke 8:48-50; Luke 17:5; Luke 18:8; John 11:25-27; Acts 3:16; Acts 13:48; Acts 26:18; Rom. 1:16, 17; Rom. 4:1-25; Rom. 5:1; Rom. 9:31-33; Rom. 10:6-10; Rom. 11:20, 23; Rom. 15:13; 1 Cor. 1:21; 1 Cor. 2:5; 1 Cor. 12:8, 9; 2 Cor. 1:24; Gal. 3:1-29; Gal. 5:22; Eph. 2:8; Eph. 6:16; Col. 1:23; Col. 2:12; 1 Thess. 2:13; 1 Thess. 5:8; 2 Thess. 2:13; 1 Tim. 1:5, 19; 1 Tim. 2:15; 1 Tim. 4:10; 1 Tim. 6:11, 12, 17; 2 Tim. 4:7, 8; Heb. 4:1-11; Heb. 6:1, 7, 12, 18; Heb. 10:35, 38, 39; Heb. 11:1-3, 6; Heb. 13:5, 6; Jas. 1:6; Jas. 2:1-26; 1 Pet. 1:5, 7, 9, 21; 1 Pet. 3:5; 1 John 3:21; 1 John 5:4; Rev. 22:7 See: Faith, In Christ.
Enjoined
Ex. 14:13; Deut. 20:1 Num. 21:34; Deut. 1:21-31; 3:2, 22; 7:17-21; 31:23; Josh. 10:25; Judg. 6:14-16; 2 Kin. 19:6, 7; 2 Chr. 20:15, 17. Deut. 31:8 vs. 6-8.; Josh. 1:9 vs. 5-9.; 2 Chr. 15:7; 2 Chr. 16:9; 2 Chr. 20:20; 2 Chr. 32:7, 8; Neh. 4:14; Job 35:14; Psa. 4:5; Psa. 27:14; Psa. 31:19, 24; Psa. 37:3, 5, 7, 39, 40; Psa. 55:22; Psa. 62:8; Psa. 115:9, 11; Psa. 130:7; Prov. 3:5, 6, 24-26; Prov. 16:3; Isa. 26:4, 20; Isa. 35:3, 4; Isa. 37:6; Isa. 41:10, 13, 14; Isa. 43:1, 2, 5, 10; Isa. 44:2, 8; Isa. 50:10; Jer. 42:11; Jer. 49:11; Joel 2:21; Joel 3:16; Hab. 2:3, 4; Zeph. 3:16, 17; Zech. 8:9; Zech. 9:12; Matt. 6:25-34 Luke 12:22-32. Matt. 17:18-20 Mark 11:23, 24. Mark 1:15; Mark 11:22; Luke 12:32; Luke 17:6 Instances of: see after the following subtopic.
Exemplified
Gen. 6:22; Gen. 16:13; Gen. 24:7, 40; Gen. 48:21; Gen. 50:20, 24; Ex. 15:2, 16, 17 vs. 1-19.; Ex. 18:11; Num. 10:29; Num. 14:8, 9; Josh. 14:12; 1 Sam. 14:6; 1 Sam. 17:36, 37, 45-47; 2 Sam. 7:28; 2 Sam. 23:5; 2 Kin. 18:5; 1 Chr. 28:20; 2 Chr. 13:10, 11; 2 Chr. 14:11; 2 Chr. 20:12; 2 Chr. 32:7, 8; Ezra 8:22; Neh. 1:10 vs. 8-10.; Neh. 2:20; Job 4:7-21; Job 5:8, 9; Job 10:12; Job 13:15, 16; Job 14:15; Job 16:19; Job 19:25-27; Job 23:6; Job 42:2; Psa. 3:3, 5, 6; Psa. 4:3, 8; Psa. 6:8, 9; Psa. 7:1, 10; Psa. 9:3, 4; Psa. 11:1; Psa. 13:5; Psa. 16:1, 2, 5, 8, 11; Psa. 17:6; Psa. 18:1-3, 18, 28, 29 2 Sam. 22:2-5. Psa. 20:5-7; Psa. 21:7; Psa. 22:4, 5; Psa. 23:1 vs. 1-6.; Psa. 25:1, 2, 5, 15, 20; Psa. 26:1, 12; Psa. 27:1, 5, 6; Psa. 28:7; Psa. 31:1, 3-6, 15; Psa. 32:7; Psa. 33:20-22; Psa. 35:10; Psa. 38:9, 15; Psa. 39:7; Psa. 40:3, 4, 17; Psa. 41:12; Psa. 42:6, 8; Psa. 43:5 Psa. 42:5. Psa. 44:5, 8; Psa. 46:1-3, 5, 7; Psa. 47:3, 4; Psa. 48:8, 14; Psa. 52:8; Psa. 54:4; Psa. 55:16, 17; Psa. 56:3, 4, 8, 9 v. 11;; Psa. 55:23. Psa. 57:1-3; Psa. 59:9, 10, 17; Psa. 60:9, 12 Psa. 108:10-13. Psa. 61:2, 4, 6, 7; Psa. 62:1, 5, 6, 7; Psa. 63:6, 7; Psa. 66:9; Psa. 67:6; Psa. 69:19, 35, 36; Psa. 70:5; Psa. 71:1, 3, 5-7, 14, 16, 20, 21; Psa. 73:23, 24, 26, 28; Psa. 74:12; Psa. 77:10-12; Psa. 86:2, 7; Psa. 89:18, 26; Psa. 90:1; Psa. 91:1, 2, 9, 10; Psa. 92:10, 15; Psa. 94:14, 15, 17, 18, 22; Psa. 102:13; Psa. 115:12-14; Psa. 116:7; Psa. 118:6, 7, 10, 14, 17; Psa. 119:42, 43, 57, 74,81,114,151,166Psa. 121:2 Psa. 124:8. Psa. 130:5, 6; Psa. 138:7, 8; Psa. 140:6, 7, 12; Psa. 141:8; Psa. 142:3, 5; Psa. 143:8, 9; Psa. 144:2, 10; Eccl. 11:1; Isa. 8:10, 17; Isa. 12:2; Isa. 25:9; Isa. 26:1, 8; Isa. 33:2, 22; Isa. 38:16; Isa. 50:7-9; Isa. 63:16; Isa. 64:8; Jer. 10:23; Jer. 14:9, 22; Jer. 16:19; Jer. 17:12, 17; Jer. 20:11; Lam. 3:24 vs. 25-32.; Dan. 3:16, 17; Dan. 6:16; Jonah 2:2 vs. 3-9.; Mic. 7:7-9, 20; Hab. 1:12; Hab. 3:17-19; Zeph. 3:12; Luke 1:38; Luke 7:50; John 3:33; Acts 16:34; Acts 24:14, 15; Acts 27:25; Rom. 8:18, 28, 38, 39; Rom. 15:29; 1 Cor. 9:26; 2 Cor. 1:10; 2 Cor. 4:8, 9, 13, 16-18; 2 Cor. 5:7; Gal. 5:5; Phil. 1:19-21; 1 Tim. 4:10; 2 Tim. 1:12; 2 Tim. 2:11-13; Heb. 10:34; Heb. 11:4, 5, 7-11, 13, 14, 16-39; Heb. 13:14; 2 Pet. 3:13; 1 John 4:16
Instances of
Noah, in building the ark, Gen. 6:14-22; Heb. 11:7.
Abraham, in forsaking the land of his nativity at the command of God, Gen. 12:1-4; believing the promise of many descendants, Gen. 12:7; 15:4-8; in the offering up of Isaac, Gen. 22:1-10; Rom. 4:18-21; Heb. 11:8-19.
Jacob, in blessing Joseph's sons, Heb. 11:21.
Joseph, concerning God's providence in his being sold into Egypt, and the final deliverance of Israel, Gen. 50:20; Heb. 11:22.
Jochebed, in caring for Moses, Ex. 2:2; Heb. 11:23.
Pharaoh's servants, who obeyed the Lord, Ex. 9:20.
Moses, in espousing the cause of his people, Heb. 11:24-28; at the death of Korah, Num. 16:28, 29.
Israelites, when Aaron declared the mission of himself and Moses, Ex. 4:31; in the battle with the Canaanites, 1 Chr. 5:20, and other conquests, 2 Chr. 13:8-18.
See: Miracles of Moses.
Caleb, in advising to take the land of promise, Num. 13:30; 14:6-9.
Rahab, in hospitality to the spies, Josh. 2:9, 11; Heb. 11:31.
The spies, sent to recooiter Jericho, Josh. 2:24.
Conquest of Jericho, Josh. 6.
Manoah's wife, Judg. 13:23.
Haah, 1 Sam. 1.
Jonathan, in smiting the Philistines, 1 Sam. 14:6.
David, in smiting Goliath, 1 Sam. 17:37, 46, 47; in choosing to fall into the hands of the Almighty in his punishment for numbering Israel, 2 Sam. 24:14; in believing God's promise, that his kingdom would be a perpetual kingdom, Acts 2:30.
Elijah, in his controversy with the priests of Baal, 1 Kin. 18:32-38.
Widow of Zarephath in feeding Elijah, 1 Kin. 17:13-15.
Amaziah, in dismissing the Ephraimites in obedience to the command of God, and going alone to battle against the Edomites, 2 Chr. 25:7-10.
Hezekiah, 2 Kin. 18:5; 19; 20:1-11.
Daniel, in the lions' den, Dan. 6.
The three Hebrews, who refused to worship Nebuchadnezzar's idol, Dan. 3:13-27.
Ninevites, in obeying Jonah, Jonah 3:5.
Ezra, in making the journey from Babylon to Jerusalem without a military escort, Ezra 8:22.
Joseph, in obeying the vision about Mary and to flee into Egypt, Matt. 1:18-24; 2:13, 14.
Abel, Heb. 11:4.
Eliphaz, in the overruling providence of God, that afflictions are for the good of the righteous, Job 5:6-27.
Mordecai, in the deliverance of the Jews, Esth. 4:14.
Simeon, when he saw Jesus in the temple, Luke 2:25-35.
Conquests by, Heb. 11:32-34.
See: Faith, Trial of, below; Faith In Christ, Instances of, below.
In Christ
Matt. 7:24, 25 Luke 6:46-49. Matt. 8:2, 13; Matt. 9:22, 29; Matt. 11:6, 28-30; Matt. 14:27 John 6:20. Matt. 15:28; Matt. 17:7; Mark 9:23; Mark 16:16; Luke 7:9, 50; Luke 8:50 Mark 5:36. Luke 17:6; Luke 18:42; John 1:12; John 3:14-16, 18, 36 John 6:47. John 5:24; John 6:29, 35, 45; John 7:38; John 9:35; John 11:25, 26, 40; John 12:36, 44, 46; John 13:7, 20; John 14:1, 11, 12; John 16:27, 33; John 18:37; John 20:27, 29, 31; Acts 3:16; Acts 10:43; Acts 15:9, 11; Acts 16:31; Acts 20:21; Acts 26:18; Rom. 3:22-28; Rom. 9:33; Rom. 10:4, 9; Gal. 2:16; Gal. 3:1-29; Gal. 5:6; Eph. 1:12-14; Eph. 3:12, 17; Eph. 4:13; Phil. 3:9; Col. 2:7; 1 Tim. 1:16; 2 Tim. 1:13; 2 Tim. 2:1; 2 Tim. 3:15; Heb. 4:16; Heb. 6:19; Heb. 10:22; Heb. 12:2; Heb. 13:7; 1 Pet. 1:8; 1 Pet. 2:6, 7 Isa. 28:16. 2 Pet. 1:1; 1 John 3:23; 1 John 5:4, 5, 10, 13, 14; Jude 21; Rev. 1:17; Rev. 3:18, 20
In Christ, Exemplified
Matt. 8:2; Matt. 9:18, 21 [Mark 5:28; Luke 8:48.] Matt. 9:28; Matt. 14:33; Matt. 15:27 vs. 26,28;; Mark 7:27-30. Matt. 16:16; Mark 9:24 John 9:38. Luke 5:5; Luke 7:3-9 Matt. 8:5-10. Luke 23:42; John 4:29, 42; John 6:14, 68, 69; John 7:31; John 10:41, 42; John 11:21, 22, 27 v. 32.; John 16:30; John 20:28; Acts 8:37; Acts 11:17; Rom. 7:24, 25; Rom. 8:35, 37; 2 Cor. 12:9, 10; Gal. 2:20; Phil. 4:13; 1 Tim. 1:14; 2 Tim. 1:12; 2 Tim. 4:18 Instances of Faith in Christ: The wise men of the east, Matt. 2:1, 2, 11.
Peter, Matt. 4:18-22; Mark 1:16-20; Luke 5:4, 5; John 6:68, 69.
Andrew, Matt. 4:18-22; Mark 1:16-20; John 1:41.
James and John, Matt. 4:21, 22; Mark 1:19, 20.
The woman with the issue of blood, Matt. 9:21, 22.
Jairus, for the healing of his daughter, Matt. 9:18, 23-25.
Two blind men, Matt. 9:29, 30.
Blind Bartimaeus and a fellow blind man, Matt. 20:30-34; Mark 10:46-52; Luke 18:35-42.
The Samaritan leper, Luke 17:11-19.
The sick of Geesaret, Matt. 14:36; Mark 3:10; 6:54-56.
Those who brought the paralytic to Jesus, Luke 5:18-20.
The Syrophenician woman, Matt. 15:22-28; Mark 7:25-30.
The woman who anointed Jesus' feet, Luke 7:36-50.
Those who brought sick of Palsy, Matt. 9:2.
Philip, John 1:45, 46.
Nathanael, John 1:49.
The Samaritans, who believed through the preaching of Jesus, John 4:39-42; through the preaching of Philip, Acts 8:9-12.
The nobleman whose child was sick, John 4:46-53.
Abraham, John 8:56.
The blind man whom Jesus healed on the Sabbath, John 9:13-38.
Mary, the sister of Martha, Luke 10:38-42; John 11:32.
John the disciple, John 20:8.
The disciples, through the miracle at Cana of Galilee, John 2:11.
Jews at Jerusalem, John 2:23; 8:30; 11:45; 12:11.
Three thousand at Pentecost, Acts 2:41.
Five thousand, Acts 4:4.
Multitudes, Acts 5:14.
The cripple at Lystra, Acts 14:9.
Stephen, Acts 6:8.
Ethiopian eunuch, Acts 8:37.
People of Lydda and Saron, Acts 9:35; of Joppa, Acts 9:42; of Antioch, Acts 11:21-24.
Barnabas, Acts 11:24.
Eunice, Lois, and Timothy, 2 Tim. 1:5; Acts 16:1.
Lydia, Acts 16:14.
Philippian jailer, Acts 16:31-34.
Crispus, Acts 18:8.
The Corinthians, Acts 18:8; 1 Cor. 15:11.
Jews at Rome, Acts 28:24.
Ephesians, Eph. 1:13, 15.
Colossians, Col. 1:2, 4.
Thessalonians, 1 Thess. 1:6; 3:6-8; 2 Thess. 1:3, 4.
Philemon, Philem. 5.
Church at Thyatira, Rev. 2:19.
Trial of
1 Chr. 29:17; Psa. 26:2; Psa. 81:7; Matt. 13:19-22 Luke 8:13, 14. Matt. 24:21-25; 2 Thess. 1:3-5; Heb. 6:13-15; Jas. 1:3, 12; 1 Pet. 1:7 See: Temptation.
Instances of Trial of: Noah, Gen. 6:14-22; Heb. 11:7.
Abraham, when commanded to leave his native land and go he did not know to what place, Gen. 12:1-4; Heb. 11:8; when commanded to offer Isaac, Gen. 22:1-19; Heb. 11:17-19.
Moses, when sent to Pharaoh, Ex. 3:11, 12; 4:10-17; Heb. 11:25-29; at the Red Sea, by the complaints of the people, Ex. 14; 15.
Joshua and the children of Israel, in the method of taking Jericho, Josh. 6; Heb. 11:30.
Gideon, when commanded to deliver Israel, Judg. 6:36-40; 7; Heb. 11:32.
Job, by affliction and adversity, Job 1; 2.
Ezra, in leaving Babylon without a military escort, Ezra 8:22.
Daniel, when forbidden to pray to Jehovah, Dan. 6:4-23; Heb. 11:32, 33.
The three Hebrews, when commanded to worship the image, Dan. 3:8-30; Heb. 11:32-34.
The Syrophenician woman, Matt. 15:21-28; Mark 7:24-30.
The two blind men who appealed to Jesus for sight, Matt. 9:28.
The disciples, when Jesus came walking on the Sea of Galilee, Matt. 14:25-33.
The disciples: by the question of Jesus, as to who he was, Matt. 16:15-20; Luke 9:20, 21; by their inability to cast out the evil spirit from the one seizuring, Matt. 17:14-21; Mark 9:14-29; Luke 9:37-42; in the storm at sea, Matt. 8:23-27; Mark 4:36-41; Luke 8:22-26.
Of Philip, when questioned by Jesus as to how the multitude would be fed, John 6:5, 6.
Of Peter, when asked whether he loved Jesus, John 21:16, 17.
See: Affliction, Design of.
Strengthened by Miracles
See: Miracles, Design of.
Sum Total of Religious Belief and Life
Rom. 1:8; Jude 3.
Weak
See: Doubting.

FAITH [ISBE]

FAITH - fath:

1. Etymology

2. Meaning: a Divergency

3. Faith in the Sense of Creed

4. A Leading Passage Explained

5. Remarks

6. Conclusion

In the Old Testament (the King James Version) the word occurs only twice: Dt 32:20 ('emun); Hab 2:4 ('emunah). In the latter the Revised Version (British and American) places in the margin the alternative rendering, "faithfulness." In the New Testament it is of very frequent occurrence, always representing pistis, with one exception in the King James Version (not the Revised Version (British and American)), Heb 10:23, where it represents elpis, "hope."

1. Etymology:

The history of the English word is rather interesting than important; use and contexts, alike for it and its Hebrew and Greek parallels, are the surest guides to meaning. But we may note that it occurs in the form "feyth," in Havelok the Dane (13th century); that it is akin to fides and this again to the Sanskrit root bhidh, "to unite," "to bind." It is worth while to recall this primeval suggestion of the spiritual work of faith, as that which, on man's side, unites him to God for salvation.

2. Meaning: a Divergency:

Studying the word "faith" in the light of use and contexts, we find a bifurcation of significance in the Bible. We may distinguish the two senses as the passive and the active; on the one side, "fidelity," "trustworthiness"; and "faith," "trust," on the other. In Gal 5:22, e.g. context makes it clear that "fidelity" is in view, as a quality congruous with the associated graces. (the Revised Version (British and American) accordingly renders pistis there by "faithfulness.") Again, Rom 3:3 the King James Version, "the faith of God," by the nature of the case, means His fidelity to promise. But in the overwhelming majority of cases, "faith," as rendering pistis, means "reliance," "trust." To illustrate would be to quote many scores of passages. It may be enough here to call attention to the recorded use of the word by our Lord. Of about twenty passages in the Gospels where pistis occurs as coming from His lips, only one (Mt 23:23) presents it in the apparent sense of "fidelity." All the others conspicuously demand the sense of "reliance," "trust." The same is true of the apostolic writings. In them, with rarest exceptions, the words "reliance," "trust," precisely fit the context as alternatives to "faith."

3. Faith in the Sense of Creed:

Another line of meaning is traceable in a very few passages, where pistis, "faith," appears in the sense of "creed," the truth, or body of truth, which is trusted, or which justifies trust. The most important of such places is the paragraph Jas 2:14-26, where an apparent contradiction to some great Pauline dicta perplexes many readers. The riddle is solved by observing that the writer uses "faith" in the sense of creed, orthodox "belief." This is clear from Jas 2:19, where the "faith." in question is illustrated: "Thou believest that God is one." This is the credal confession of the orthodox Jew (the shema`; see Dt 6:4), taken as a passport to salvation. Briefly, James presses the futility of creed without life, Paul the necessity of reliance in order to receive "life and peace."

4. A Leading Passage Explained:

It is important to notice that Heb 11:1 is no exception to the rule that "faith" normally means "reliance," "trust." There "Faith is the substance (or possibly, in the light of recent inquiries into the type of Greek used by New Testament writers, "the guaranty") of things hoped for, the evidence (or "convincing proof") of things not seen." This is sometimes interpreted as if faith, in the writer's view, were, so to speak, a faculty of second sight, a mysterious intuition into the spiritual world. But the chapter amply shows that the faith illustrated, e.g. by Abraham, Moses, Rahab, was simply reliance upon a God known to be trustworthy. Such reliance enabled the believer to treat the future as present and the invisible as seen. In short, the phrase here, "faith is the evidence," etc., is parallel in form to our familiar saying, "Knowledge is power."

5. Remarks:

A few detached remarks may be added: (a) The history of the use of the Greek pistis is instructive. In the Septuagint it normally, if not always, bears the "passive" sense "fidelity," "good faith," while in classical Greek it not rarely bears the active sense, "trust." In the koine, the type of Greek universally common at the Christian era, it seems to have adopted the active meaning as the ruling one only just in time, so to speak, to provide it for the utterance of Him whose supreme message was "reliance," and who passed that message on to His apostles. Through their lips and pens "faith," in that sense, became the supreme watchword of Christianity.

See JUSTIFICATION; UNION WITH CHRIST.

6. Conclusion:

In conclusion, without trespassing on the ground of other articles, we call the reader's attention, for his Scriptural studies, to the central place of faith in Christianity, and its significance. As being, in its true idea, a reliance as simple as possible upon the word, power, love, of Another, it is precisely that which, on man's side, adjusts him to the living and merciful presence and action of a trusted God. In its nature, not by any mere arbitrary arrangement, it is his one possible receptive attitude, that in which he brings nothing, so that he may receive all. Thus "faith" is our side of union with Christ. And thus it is our means of possessing all His benefits, pardon, justification, purification, life, peace, glory.

As a comment on our exposition of the ruling meaning of "faith" in Scripture, we may note that this precisely corresponds to its meaning in common life, where, for once that the word means anything else, it means "reliance" a hundred times. Such correspondence between religious terms (in Scripture) and the meaning of the same words in common life, will be found to be invariable.

Handley Dunelm


Also see definition of "Faith" in Word Study


TIP #08: Use the Strong Number links to learn about the original Hebrew and Greek text. [ALL]
created in 0.33 seconds
powered by bible.org