Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Faith to Move Mountains (part 1 - definition)

What is faith?  It's an easy exercise to find the clinical definition of faith.  Though the textbook definition probably won't change your "faith", it seems to be the necessary starting point.  So here's a few textbook definitions to consider:  

Definition of Faith In the OT and NT, “faith” carries several meanings. It may mean simple trust in God or in the Word of God, and at other times faith almost becomes equivalent to active obedience. It may also find expression in the affirmation of a creedal statement. Thus, it also comes to mean the entire body of received Christian teaching or truth—“the truth.” In Colossians 2:7, the term suggests something to be accepted as a whole and embodied in personal life. In 2 Timothy 4:7, Paul witnesses to having “kept the faith.” [Emphasis added]
 Elwell, W. A., & Comfort, P. W. (2001). Tyndale Bible dictionary. Tyndale reference library (470–471). Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

Faith, in the Bible trust in, or reliance on, God who is himself trustworthy. The NT and the Greek OT express the understanding of faith primarily with two terms (pistis, pisteuein), which are related to the primary OT verb ‘to be true’ or ‘be trustworthy’ (’aman). The OT concept is considerably broader than this term and its cognates, yet ’aman remains the most profound expression to describe faith in the OT.
Achtemeier, P. J., Harper & Row, & Society of Biblical Literature. (1985). Harper’s Bible dictionary (1st ed.) (298). San Francisco: Harper & Row.

The primary Old Testament words for “believe,” “belief,” and “faith” are Heb. ˒āman and its cognates ˒emûnâ and ˒emeṯ. The basic meaning of ˒āman is “be steady, firm and trustworthy” (KoB, p. 60); in the hiphil, rendered “to believe,” the verb signifies “accept as true” (1 Kgs. 10:7 par. 2 Chr. 9:6; Lam. 4:12; Hab. 1:5), “be sure” (Job 15:22), or “trust” (Jer. 12:6). The meaning of ˒emûnâ is “steadiness,” “faithfulness,” or “candor” (KoB, p.60; cf. Isa. 9:7b for the parallel between “believe” and “establish”), while that of ˒emeṯ is “trustworthiness,” “faithfulness” (Gen. 32:10), or “truth” (e.g., 42:16; cf. KoB, p. 66).
The New Testament terms are Gk. pisteúō “believe” and pístis “faith.” John uses the verb pisteúō to indicate the circumstance of believing; Paul primarily chooses the noun pístis, but cf. Rom. 3:22, where he combines the noun and verb to indicate “faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.”
The word “faith” occurs in a variety of expressions: “in good faith” (Heb. be˓emeṯ; Judg. 9:15–16, 19), a “breach of faith” (ma˓al; Lev. 6:2" [MT 5:21]), “full of faith” (Acts 6:5; 11:24), “of little faith,” i.e., without confidence that God would provide for the basic human needs (Matt. 6:30; cf. 14:31; 16:8 for the small degree of trust the disciples placed in Jesus’ power), a “door of faith” (Acts 14:27), the “word of faith” (Rom. 10:8), the “spirit of faith” (2 Cor. 4:13), the “shield of faith” (Eph. 6:16), and the “breastplate of faith” (1 Thess. 5:8). The Old Testament also portrays faith as undergirding human relationships (e.g., Judg. 9:15). Basically, however, both the Old and the New Testament view faith as mankind’s trust in God. [Emphasis mine]

Myers, A. C. (1987). The Eerdmans Bible dictionary (373–374). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

Finally, I love books like the New Topical Textbook that provides wonderful lists of a topic for us to this case "faith".  Don't be too quick to scan this list, but take the time to reflect on "faith" as used in these Scriptures.  Jot down 2-3 points that stand out to you.  How have they made an impact in your life?  How will these truths further your trust in God? 

When we get together next time, I want to begin looking at faith in the lives of men and women in  the Word.  As Jude said, "Beloved, build yourselves up in your most holy faith." v.20a 


  1.      Is the substance of things hoped for. Heb 11:1.
  2.      Is the evidence of things not seen. Heb 11:1.
  3.      Commanded. Mt 11:22; 1Jo 3:23.
  4.      The objects of, are
     a.      God. Joh 14:1.
     b.      Christ. Joh 6:29; Ac 20:21.
     c.      Writings of Moses. Joh 5:46; Ac 24:14.
     d.      Writings of the prophets. 2Ch 20:20; Ac 26:27.
     e.      The gospel. Mr 1:15.
     f.      Promises of God. Ro 4:21; Heb 11:13.
  5.      In Christ is
     a.      The gift of God. Ro 12:3; Eph 2:8; 6:23; Php 1:29.
     b.      The work of God. Ac 11:21; 1Co 2:5.
     c.      Precious. 2Pe 1:1.
     d.      Most holy. Jude 1:20.
     e.      Fruitful. 1Th 1:3.
     f.      Accompanied by repentance. Mr 1:15; Lu 24:47.
     g.      Followed by conversion. Ac 11:21.
  6.      Christ is the Author and Finisher of. Heb 12:2.
  7.      Is a gift of the Holy Spirit. 1Co 12:9.
  8.      The Scriptures designed to produce. Joh 20:31; 2Ti 3:15.
  9.      Preaching designed to produce. Joh 17:20; Ac 8:12; Ro 10:14,15,17; 1Co 3:5.
  10.      Through it is
     a.      Remission of sins. Ac 10:43; Ro 3:25.
     b.      Justification. Ac 13:39; Ro 3:21,22,28,30; 5:1; Ga 2:16.
     c.      Salvation. Mr 16:16; Ac 16:31.
     d.      Sanctification. Ac 15:9; 26:18.
     e.      Spiritual light. Joh 12:36,46.
     f.      Spiritual life. Joh 20:31; Ga 2:20.
     g.      Eternal life. Joh 3:15,16; 6:40,47.
     h.      Rest in heaven. Heb 4:3.
     i.      Edification. 1Ti 1:4; Jude 1:20.
     j.      Preservation. 1Pe 1:5.
     k.      Adoption. Joh 1:12; Ga 3:26.
     l.      Access to God. Ro 5:2; Eph 3:12.
     m.      Inheritance of the promises. Ga 3:22; Heb 6:12.
     n.      The gift of the Holy Spirit. Ac 11:15-17; Ga 3:14; Eph 1:13.
  11.      Impossible to please God without. Heb 11:6.
  12.      Justification is by, to be of grace. Ro 4:16.
  13.      Essential to the profitable reception of the gospel. Heb 4:2.
  14.      Necessary in the Christian warfare. 1Ti 1:18,19; 6:12.
  15.      The gospel effectual in those who have. 1Th 2:13.
  16.      Excludes self-justification. Ro 10:3,4.
  17.      Excludes boasting. Ro 3:27.
  18.      Works by love. Ga 5:6; 1Ti 1:5; Phm 1:5.
  19.      Produces
     a.      Hope. Ro 5:2.
     b.      Joy. Ac 16:34; 1Pe 1:8.
     c.      Peace. Ro 15:13.
     d.      Confidence. Isa 28:16; 1Pe 2:6.
     e.      Boldness in preaching. Ps 116:10; 2Co 4:13.
     f.      Christ is precious to those having. 1Pe 2:7.
     g.      Christ dwells in the heart by. Eph 3:17.
     h.      Necessary in prayer. Mt 21:22; Jas 1:6.
     i.      Those who are not Christ’s have not. Joh 10:26,27.
     j.      An evidence of the new birth. 1Jo 5:1.
  20.      By it saints
     a.      Live. Ga 2:20.
     b.      Stand. Ro 11:20; 2Co 1:24.
     c.      Walk. Ro 4:12; 2Co 5:7.
     d.      Obtain a good report. Heb 11:2.
     e.      Overcome the world. 1Jo 5:4,5.
     f.      Resist the devil. 1Pe 5:9.
     g.      Overcome the devil. Eph 6:16.
     h.      Are supported. Ps 27:13; 1Ti 4:10.
  21.      Saints die in. Heb 11:13.
  22.      Saints should
     a.      Be sincere in. 1Ti 1:5; 2Ti 1:5.
     b.      Abound in. 2Co 8:7.
     c.      Continue in. Ac 14:22; Col 1:23.
     d.      Be strong in. Ro 4:20-24.
     e.      Stand fast in. 1Co 16:13.
     f.      Be grounded and settled in. Col 1:23.
     g.      Hold, with a good conscience. 1Ti 1:19.
     h.      Pray for the increase of. Lu 17:5.
     i.      Have full assurance of. 2Ti 1:12; Heb 10:22.
  23.      True, evidenced by its fruits. Jas 2:21-25.
  24.      Without fruits, is dead. Jas 2:17,20,26.
  25.      Examine whether you be in. 2Co 13:5.
  26.      All difficulties overcome by. Mt 17:20; 21:21; Mr 9:23.
  27.      All things should be done in. Ro 14:22.
  28.      Whatever is not of, is sin. Ro 14:23.
  29.      Often tried by affliction. 1Pe 1:6,7.
  30.      Trial of, works patience. Jas 1:3.
  31.      The wicked often profess. Ac 8:13,21.
  32.      The wicked destitute of. Joh 10:25; 12:37; Ac 19:9; 2Th 3:2.
  33.      Protection of, illustrated
     a.      A shield. Eph 6:16.
     b.      A breastplate. 1Th 5:8.
  34.      Exemplified
     a.      Caleb. Nu 13:30.
     b.      Job. Job 19:25.
     c.      Shadrach, &c. Da 3:17.
     d.      Daniel. Da 6:10,23.
     e.      Peter. Mt 16:16.
     f.      Woman who was a sinner. Lu 7:50.
     g.      Nathanael. Joh 1:49.
     h.      Samaritans. Joh 4:39.
     i.      Martha. Joh 11:27.
     j.      The Disciples. Joh 16:30.
     k.      Thomas. Joh 20:28.
     l.      Stephen. Ac 6:5.
     m.      Priests. Ac 6:7.
     n.      Ethiopian. Ac 8:37.
     o.      Barnabas. Ac 11:24.
     p.      Sergius Paulus. Ac 13:12.
     q.      Philippian jailor. Ac 16:31,34.
     r.      Romans. Ro 1:8.
     s.      Colossians. Col 1:4.
     t.      Thessalonians. 1Th 1:3.
     u.      Lois. 2Ti 1:5.
     v.      Paul. 2Ti 4:7.
     w.      Abel. Heb 11:4.
     x.      Enoch. Heb 11:5.
     y.      Noah. Heb 11:7.
     z.      Abraham. Heb 11:8,17.
     A.      Isaac. Heb 11:20.
     B.      Jacob. Heb 11:21.
     C.      Joseph. Heb 11:22.
     D.      Moses. Heb 11:24,27.
     E.      Rahab. Heb 11:31.
     F.      Gideon &c. Heb 11:32,33,39.

Torrey, R. (2001). The new topical text book: A scriptural text book for the use of ministers, teachers, and all Christian workers. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Bible Software.

No comments: