What is it? Specifically, what is faith within the Biblical context? Many people will have you believe that Christianity requires a blind faith. This is not the case. Faith, in the Bible, is not a blind surrender to superstition. God invites us: “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD…” (Isa 1:18). A whole book (Proverbs) in the Bible is devoted to Wisdom and throughout Scripture wisdom is praised and superstitious belief in idols (the illogical worship of inanimate objects) is scorned. Jesus talks about wise men and foolish men. In fact, Jesus is Himself described as the Word. The Greek term translated into “Word” in English is “Logos”, which means [logical] expression. Whatever faith is, it is clearly not a simpleton’s acceptance of something that lacks reason; of something illogical.
So what does “faith” mean in the Bible? The first time the word faith is used in the Bible is in Deuteronomy 32:20: “And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith.” The Hebrew word for faith, from this passage is “’êmûn” and literally means “established”, “trusty” or “trustworthiness”.
When Jesus says in Matthew 6:30: “…if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?”, the lack of faith in this section comes from the Greek word “oligopistos”, which means “lacking in confidence”.
Referring to the centurion that asked Jesus to heal his servant by merely speaking the word, Jesus answered: “…Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel” (Matthew 8:10). The term “faith” in this passage comes from the Greek “pistis” which means “persuasion”, “conviction”, usually of Truth.
The implication is not blind faith, but acceptance of a Truth after being persuaded of its validity. The centurion was not hoping on some superstitious belief, but he was convinced that Jesus could heal his servant because he knew about Jesus’ ability. He had probably heard of the many instances where Jesus healed the sick and might even have witnessed some of these miracles. He was persuaded about Jesus’ power; he was convinced of His authority over sickness.
Throughout the New Testament the word translated into faith in English is the same Greek word “pistis”, i.e. persuasion of truth, or the negative “oligopistos”, i.e. a lack in confidence — not trusting something. A better modern translation than “faith” would probably be “trust”. Trust is something that comes from experience; to have confidence in something. That is why “faith in God” is not merely saying the words “I believe in God”, nay, true faith, is trusting God. And trusting God comes from having a relationship with Him.
I like this quote below!
God never asks us to believe, without giving sufficient evidence upon which to base our faith. His existence, His character, the truthfulness of His word, are all established by testimony that appeals to reason; and this testimony is abundant. Yet God has never removed the possibility of doubt. Our faith must rest upon evidence, not demonstration. Those who wish to doubt will have opportunity; while those who really desire to know the truth will find plenty of evidence on which to rest their faith. — Steps to Christ; Chapter 12.
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