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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [1]

1. In the Acts of the Apostles. -In the Acts faith is spoken of as (1) inspired by Christ, (2) directed to Christ, (3) corresponding to Christian teaching.

(1) After St. Peter had healed the lame man, he explained that the miracle had been wrought by the power of God by faith in the name of the ‘Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead’; ‘yea, the faith which is through him (ἡ διʼ αὐτοῦ) hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all’ ( Acts 3:16). The health-bringing faith both in the apostles and the cripple had been inspired by Jesus, the Holy One.

(2) More frequently the faith is directed to Jesus Christ. Thus the general statement is made: ‘Many believed on (ἐπὶ) the Lord’ ( Acts 9:42). St. Paul enjoins the Philippian jailer: ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ’ ( Acts 16:31). Similarly Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, ‘believed in the Lord with all his house’ ( Acts 18:8; ἐπίστευσεν τῴ κυρίῳ = ‘believed the Lord’). In all these cases the faith is directed to the Lord Jesus Christ.

(3) In several passages ‘the faith’ is equivalent to the Christian faith or Christian religion. In describing the multiplying of the disciples in Jerusalem it is said: ‘A great company of the priests were obedient to the faith’ ( Acts 6:7). In Cyprus Elymas opposed the apostles, ‘seeking to turn aside the proconsul from the faith’ ( Acts 13:8). St. Paul returned to the towns in Asia, ‘confirming the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith’ ( Acts 14:22). In each of these cases ‘the faith’ has already become the phrase to express all that is implied by believing in Christ.

We can see the transition from (2) to (3) in the expression used by St. Peter when speaking of the work of God among the Gentiles. He says that God mode do distinction, ‘cleansing their hearts by faith’ or ‘by the faith’ ( Acts 15:9).

This leads us to note that in Acts faith is made the medium for healing, cleansing, and salvation. The largest result of faith is announced by St. Paul when he promises to the jailer salvation for himself and his household as the blessing given to faith in Jesus Christ. The gift of the Holy Spirit is associated with faith in Christ, as in the case of Cornelius and his friends who welcomed the preaching of the gospel by St. Peter, so that ‘while Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all them which heard the word’ ( Acts 10:44). More generally the gift of the Holy Spirit follows baptism and the laying on of hands, as in the case of the disciples of John the Baptist ( Acts 19:2) and the Samaritans whom Philip had led to believe in Jesus Christ ( Acts 8:17).

It is noteworthy that in describing both Stephen and Barnabas it is said of each that he was ‘full of faith and of the Holy Spirit’ ( Acts 6:5;  Acts 11:24), and probably it is implied that each had received not only the permanent gift of the Spirit (δωρεάν,  Acts 2:38) but also the graces (χαρίσματα,  1 Corinthians 12:9) imparted by Him through a full and obedient faith.

2. In the Epistle of St. James .-This Epistle must have been written either in the very earliest apostolic times or in a period that is almost post-apostolic. The whole Epistle is practical and undogmatic, and lays the chief emphasis on ethical observance. The writer appreciates the value of faith when he refers to those who are ‘rich in faith’ ( James 2:5) and to the ‘prayer of faith’ ( James 5:15); but in the section of the Epistle which deals with faith and works, it is not too much to say that he looks upon faith with a measure of suspicion. In this argument ( James 2:14-26) the writer evidently defines ‘faith’ in his own mind as intellectual assent to Divine truth, and with his undogmatic prepossessions he becomes almost antidogmatic in tendency. The Apostle describes this faith not as false or feigned, but as having such reality only as the faith of demons in the oneness of God, To him ‘faith’ is far from being an enthusiastic acceptance of a Divine Redeemer.

If the Epistle was written in very early times, the argument must move more on Judaic than on Christian grounds, and a certain corroboration of this is found in the fact that the illustrations are taken from OT examples like Abraham and Rahab, and that the typical example chosen is belief in the unity of God, which was the war-cry of the Jew as it became in later days that of the Muhammadan. If the later date is chosen, then time must be left for a general acceptance of Christian truth so that ‘faith’ had become assent to Christian dogma. In either case the argument of the Epistle cannot be regarded as a direct polemic against the teaching of St. Paul. The two writers move in different spheres of thought, so that, while words and phrases are alike, their definitions are as the poles asunder. An instance of this is found in the words with which St. James closes the section on ‘faith.’ The Apostle has already declared: ‘Faith, if it have not works, is dead in itself’ ( James 2:17), so now he sums up: ‘As the body apart from the spirit is dead, even so faith apart from works is dead’ ( James 2:26). Here we find that so far from faith being the inspiration of works, as St. Paul might suggest, St. James teaches that works are the inspiration of faith. Faith may be a mere dead body unless works prove to be an inner spirit to make it alive. This declaration agrees with the writer’s whole attitude, for throughout this letter he insists that the practical carrying out of ‘the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ’ is found in obedience to ‘the royal law’; ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.’ This practice of the will of Christ makes faith to be alive.

3. In the Epistles of St. Paul .-In the writings of St. Paul ‘faith’ and ‘grace’ are the human and the Divine sides of the great experience that revolutionized his own life and the lives of many to whom the gospel was brought. Occasionally faith is spoken of as being directed to God, but commonly it is directed to Jesus Christ. Thus in  Galatians 2:16 St. Paul writes: ‘Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, save (but only, ἐὰν μή) through faith in Jesus Christ, even we believed on Christ Jeans that we might be justified by faith in Christ.’ Here the reiteration is singular, but the insistence on ‘faith in Christ’ is characteristically Pauline. To St. Paul the only faith that is of value is the faith that rests on Jesus Christ our Lord, who was made in the likeness of men, died for our sins, and rose again from the dead. The Death of Christ occupies so large a place in his thought that he is determined to know nothing save Jesus Christ and Him crucified ( 1 Corinthians 2:2), while he insists so strongly on the Resurrection as to declare: ‘If Christ hath not been raised; your faith is vain’ ( 1 Corinthians 15:17).

This revolutionizing faith is awakened by the preaching of the gospel: ‘Belief cometh of hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ’ ( Romans 10:17), i.e. by the word concerning Christ, or, as it is called earlier ( Romans 10:8), ‘the word of faith,’ i.e. the word that deals with justifying faith. This faith, according to St. Paul, brings salvation. Thus in  Ephesians 1:13 ‘the word of the truth’ is the medium by which faith comes, and through faith comes salvation. So in  Ephesians 2:8 it is said: ‘By grace have ye been saved through faith’ (διὰτῆς πίστεως, not διὰ τὴν πίστιν, i.e. through faith as a means, not on account of faith as a ground of salvation). Hearing and faith are associated in a similar way in the Epistle to the Galatians, as the means by which the gift of the Spirit came. ‘Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?’ ( Galatians 3:2), and the meaning varies little whether we conceive of faith as the accompaniment of hearing or as its product. It is possible to infer from  Ephesians 1:13 f. that the gift of the Spirit was received after, not contemporaneously with, the act of faith. ‘Having also believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.’ The sealing with the Spirit is posterior to the act of faith and may be associated with the rite of baptism, which came to be known as a sealing ordinance.

St. Paul dwells frequently upon faith as a definite act in his own life and in the lives of Christian converts. Two instances only need be given. In  Galatians 2:16 he says: ‘We believed on Christ Jesus,’ where the verb ἐπιστεύσαμεν denotes one definite net in the past when they turned in faith to (εἰς) Christ Jesus. Even more marked is the sentence in  Romans 13:11 : ‘Now is salvation nearer to us (ἤ ὄτε ἐπιστεύσαμεν) than when we believed,’ i.e. than when we by a definite act of faith became Christians, In St. Paul’s experience and teaching this act of faith leads to a life of faith, so that he can write of himself: ‘That life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, the faith which is in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me’ ( Galatians 2:20). Faith is not a solitary act but a continuous attitude of the inner life towards Christ Jesus. But this does not imply that either at the beginning or during its course this faith is perfect; it may be halting even when real, and when living it grows ever stronger ‘by faith unto faith’ ( Romans 1:17). Faith is weak in the experience of many, sometimes in opposition to the enticing power of evil when flesh lusts against spirit, sometimes in opposition to law as a ground of salvation, and sometimes in failing to appreciate what Christian truth implies. This last form of weakness is discussed by St. Paul towards the close of the Epistle to the Romans 14, where those weak in faith do not understand the extent of their freedom in Christ, and find themselves bound in conscience by irritating non-Christian customs. St. Paul commends a faith that is stronger and freer, but he declares that none mast act in defiance of their faith. They must be clear in mind and conscience before they break even these customs. ‘Whatsoever is not of faith is sin’ ( Romans 14:23). Even when Christians are perfect (τέλειοι,  Philippians 3:15), possessors of a mature faith as well as full knowledge, they have not reached the goal, but they must still press on toward the goal unto the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus ( Philippians 3:14).

For St. Paul faith was an experience that touched the inmost part of his nature, but it had perforce to find outward expression. Faith and profession ore necessarily united. The believer in Christ must be a witness for Christ. The statement of  Romans 10:10 puts succinctly what St. Paul constantly implies: ‘With the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the month confession is made unto salvation.’ These are not so much independent acts as two sides of the same act. Internally faith in Christ brings a change of heart, externally it implies confession of the Lord. This confession finds its formal expression in baptism, and the Apostle expected that in this way as well as in more homely ways this public confession would be made. In St. Paul’s view the believer in Christ must be a professing Christian.

If faith must be associated with such outward testimony it must be even more intimately associated with many Christian graces, and especially with love or charity. St. Paul in his eulogy of love (1 Corinthians 13) declares that among the great abiding virtues love is the chief. ‘lf I have all faith so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing’ ( 1 Corinthians 13:2). This exalted praise of love is the more remarkable because St. Paul is the champion of faith in the great controversy of which we get his own statement in the Epistles to Galatians and Romans (Galatians 2, 3, Romans 1-5). St. Paul’s experience on the way to Damascus when he was convinced of the Messiahship and Lordship of Jesus of Nazareth became the dominant factor in all his life, and led to his abandonment of allegiance to law and to the strenuous vindication of the place of faith in the religious life. Before his conversion St. Paul had sought justification with God by a religious obedience to the Law, bat Faith in Jesus Christ changed his whole attitude and revolutionized his whole thought. Faith in Christ was not conceived by him primarily as bringing a now power in attaining the end that he had previously kept in view, for now he believed that justification had been attained at once through faith in Christ by the grace of God, Justification was the beginning of true life, not a blessing to be attained at the end ( Galatians 2:16).

The faith which receives this blessing is faith in Christ Jesus. This faith in conceived by St. Paul not as a mere intellectual assent or as a recognition of the unseen world, but as an enthusiastic trust in Christ as Saviour, and as a complete devotion to Him as Lord. The whole inner nature, including mind, heart, and will, is committed to Him in trust and devotion. In receiving Jesus as Christ, St. Paul gave himself to Jesus as Lord. This saving faith became the medium of all Divine blessing to St. Paul, and, drawing upon his own experience, he taught that it would be and must be the medium of blessing to all. Hence he gloried in the gospel, ‘for therein is revealed a righteousness of God by faith unto faith’ ( Romans 1:17). The gospel could thus become a universal message for mankind, for it dealt with all men alike as sinners, and offered to all who believed in Christ the righteousness of God, ‘being justified freely by has grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus’ ( Romans 3:24).

After this illuminating experience of the grace of God came to St. Paul he turned back to the OT and found in its pages that in the religious experience there narrated the blessings of God had come also through faith. Thus ‘to Abraham his faith was reckoned for righteousness’ ( Romans 4:9,  Galatians 3:6). So David pronounced blessing upon the man unto whom God reckoneth righteousness apart from works ( Romans 4:6). He found that God’s method had always been the same. His grace had reached its end when a human heart had responded in faith. This truth is utterly opposed to St. Paul’s former belief that righteousness came by the Law, and both in Rom. and Gal. he labours to prove that, whatever the work of the Law was, it was not to gain a right standing with God. It had a mission even concerning faith, but it was the mission of an attendant slave to bring those who were in ward unto Christ; but when that mission was fulfilled, they were no longer under law, but were all sons of God, through faith in Christ Jesus ( Galatians 3:24-26). Thus the Christian life is regarded as a free, loving, spiritual service, of which faith in Christ is the prime origin and the constant inspiration.

In the Pastoral Epistles that are usually associated with the name of St. Paul we find ‘the faith’ frequently used as equivalent to the Christian faith or teaching. Thus in 1 Tim. we find: ‘Some made shipwreck concerning the faith’ ( 1 Timothy 1:19). Deacons must hold the ‘mystery of the faith in a pure conscience’ ( 1 Timothy 3:9). ‘In later times some shall all away from the faith’ ( 1 Timothy 4:1). ‘If any provideth not for his own, and specially his own household, he hath denied the faith’ ( 1 Timothy 5:8). It is inferred by some that the use of ‘the faith’ in this sense implies a late date for this Epistle, possibly considerably after St. Paul’s death; but it is significant that in Gal., which is among the very earliest of the Pauline Epistles, there is found the expression: ‘Before the faith came, we were kept in ward under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed’ ( Galatians 3:23). Here the Apostle describes the early period not as the time before faith came, for faith was found already in the OT, but as the time before the faith came, i.e. the faith of Christ. Thus in this early-Epistle we have the starting-point for the later use.

4. In the Epistle to the Hebrews .-In this Epistle faith has not the content that has been found in the Epistles of St. Paul. It is true that when the writer is speaking of ‘the first principles of Christ’ he mentions first, in a manner suggestive of St. Paul’s phrases, the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God’ (ἐπὶ θεόν,  Hebrews 6:1). But even here ‘dead works’ is not used in the Pauline sense as works done apart from Christ or as works of themselves, and ‘faith’ is not the enthusiastic trust in Christ which St. Paul enshrines as the central feature of experience and dogma. In Heb., faith may he defined in general terms as the human response to the word of God. When man refuses to respond, he is guilty of unbelief and of hardness of heart; when he responds to God speaking to him, then he believes. God sent His word through agents, such as angels ( Hebrews 2:2) and prophets ( Hebrews 1:1), but especially in the last times He has spoken through His Son, and has borne witness to this message by ‘signs and wonders, by manifold powers, and by gifts of the Holy Ghost’ ( Hebrews 2:3-4). Faith is the obedient response to this word of God, and has been found in all those who have become ‘the cloud of witnesses’ ( Hebrews 12:1). The secret of the assurance, devotion, and endurance of the OT saints is found in their unceasing confidence in the God who revealed Himself to them ( Hebrews 1:1). The greatest example of this faith was Jesus Himself, ‘the author and perfecter of faith’ ( Hebrews 12:2), who led the way in the career of faith and embodied in His own life its full realization. This believing response to the word of God produces within the mind certain activities, the chief of which the writer describes when he gives faith its well-known definition ( Hebrews 11:1): ‘Faith is the assurance of things hoped for (or it gives substance to things hoped for), the proving of things not seen (or the conviction of unseen realities.)’ Faith is the conviction of the reality of things not made known through the senses, and, so far as religion is concerned, it is produced by the word of God.

It ought to be observed that throughout this Epistle there is also implied a faith in the work of God by Christ, the great High Priest and Mediator of a new covenant. Possibly this work ought to be regarded as a part of the word of God, for the writer conceives of God’s word coming in the OT through such works as the arrangements of the tabernacle ( Hebrews 9:8), as well as by spoken message, and the work of Christ may he conceived as in its entirety the message of God to men. On the other hand, it is possible that the writer, having described the complete priestly work done by Christ, regards faith as the response to the call then made by God to enter into His immediate fellowship. Those who respond will draw near to God ‘in frill assurance of faith’ (ἐν πληροφορίᾳ πίστεως,  Hebrews 10:22).

5. In the Epistles of St. Peter .-There is little that is distinctive in the doctrinal teaching of these Epistles, and analogies may be found with both St. Paul and St. James. The writer of 1 Pet. makes Christ the object of faith, ‘on whom (εἰς ὄν), though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable’ ( 1 Peter 1:8). He also makes Christ the means of faith in God: Christ ‘was manifested at the end of the times for your sake, who through him (διʼ αὐτοῦ) are believers in God’ (εἰς θεὸν,  1 Peter 1:20-21). Similarly those who are suffering greatly are called upon to ‘commit their souls in well-doing unto a faithful Creator’ ( 1 Peter 4:19), where in a unique phrase God as Creator is presented as the object of trust. Throughout 1 Pet. salvation is regarded as future, certainly near at hand, but still as an inheritance to which Christians are to look forward. Hence the se who are begotten unto this living hope must look upon the trials they are undergoing as tests of their faith ( 1 Peter 1:6), and must recall that, as Christ suffered in the flesh, they must arm themselves with the same mind ( 1 Peter 4:1). But the real defence is the power of God, by which they are guarded through faith ( 1 Peter 1:5). Faith brings under the power of God those who are tried, so that at last they will receive the end of their faith, even the salvation of their souls ( 1 Peter 1:9).

6. In the Epistles of St. John .-‘Faith’ is not the dominant conception in these Epistles, but ‘light,’ ‘knowledge,’ ‘love.’ Faith and love are presented as twin commands: ‘This is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another’ ( 1 John 3:23). The thought is somewhat varied when the writer says that a believer in Christ receives new life from God, and one sign of that new life is that he loves God who begat him, and also every other one who is begotten in the same way ( 1 John 5:1). True faith includes genuine love. The knowledge of God, of Christ, and of ourselves leads to faith. ‘We know and have believed the love which God hath in us’ ( 1 John 4:16); but faith also develops into a deeper and surer knowledge: ‘These things have I written unto you, that ye may know that ye have eternal life, even unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God’ ( 1 John 5:13).

Through faith there comes also victory over the world and all the powers of the world. ‘This is the victory that hath overcome the world, even our faith’ ( 1 John 5:4). Thus he that believes that Jesus is the Son of God passes by the way of forgiveness, knowledge, and love into an assured confidence and a great victory over the world and the things that are in the world.

7. In the Apocalypse .-It is unnecessary to examine the Apocalypse in detail, for it does not deal with either the nature or the defence of faith. In some respects it rises to a higher level as poetic and prophetic expression is given in it to the energy of the deep religious faith that abounds in the heart of the writer. In the Apocalypse we have described for us in words and pictures the unity and power of God, the dominion of Christ over the Church and the world, and the triumphant victory of the Kingdom of God over all the powers of evil. With all its problems and mysteries, this book has proved in times of despair the means of begetting and sustaining faith in Jesus Christ as ‘the ruler of the kings of the earth’ ( Revelation 1:5).

8. Conclusion .-In whatever ways the apostles differ in their method of regarding faith, they agree in the underlying thought that in and by it there is oneness with Jesus Christ. This union is dwelt upon by St. Paul especially in passages that deal with the ‘unio mystica’ ( Ephesians 1:23,  1 Corinthians 12:12, etc.), but it appears also in the argument of 1 Jn. ( 1 John 2:24). To make this oneness real, there is required less mere intellectual discernment than willingness of heart to commit soul and life to God in Christ. This faith is the answer of the heart to the grace of God, and is associated always with repentance and is accompanied by love and other Christian graces. Thus the writer of 2 Pet. is at one with all the apostles in saying to Christians that when they become partakers of the Divine nature ( 2 Peter 1:4) they are bound to add to the faith-that is fundamental-virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, love of the brethren, love. Faith, that makes a believer a sharer in Christ’s salvation, makes him also a sharer in Christ’s mind and character.

Literature.-H. Bushnell, The New Life , 1860, p. 44; J. C. Hare, The Victory of Faith 3, 1874; J. T. O’Brien. The Nature and the Effects of Faith 4, 1877; N. Smyth, The Reality of Faith , 1888, also The Religions Feeling-a Study for Faith . n.d.; J. Kaftan, Glaube und Dogma 3, 1889: C. Gore, in Lux Mundi 12, 1891. p. 1; J. W. Diggle, Religions Doubt . 1895, p. 28; J. Haussleiter, ‘Was versteht Paulus unter christlichem Glauben?’ in Greifswalder Studien , 1895, p. 159ff.; G. B. Stevens, Doctrine and Life , 1895, p. 191; A. Schlatter, Der Glaube im NT 2, 1896; J. Martineau, Faith and Self-Surrender , 1897: W. Herrmann, Faith and Morals , 1904; G. Ferries, The Growth of Christian Faith , 1905; E. Griffith-Jones, Faith and Verification , 1907; W. R. Inge, Faith , 1909; H. C. G. Moule, Faith , 1909; P. Charles, La Foi , 1910; P. Gardner, The Religions Experience of St. Paul , 1911, p. 206: H. Martensen-Larsen, Zweifel und Glaube , 1911; D. L. Ihmels, Fides implicita und der evangelische Heilsglaube , 1912; A. Nairne, The Epistle of Priesthood , 1913, p. 336ff.; W. M. Ramsay, The Teaching of Paul , 1913, pp. 56, 163, 176, 182.

D. Macrae Tod.

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [2]

Faith . Noun for believe , having in early Eng. ousted ‘belief’ (wh. see) from its ethical uses. By this severance of noun and vb. (so in Lat. fides credere , French foi croire ) Eng. suffers in comparison with German ( Glaube glauben ) and Greek ( pistis pisteuô ). But ‘faith’ has a noble pedigree; coming from the Latin fides , through Norman-French, it connotes the sense of personal honour and of the mutual loyalty attaching to the pledged word.

1. In OT . This word, the normal NT expression for the religious bond, is found but twice in the OT (EV [Note: English Version.] ) in   Deuteronomy 32:20 , signifying steadfastness, fidelity  ; and in   Habakkuk 2:4 , where a slightly different noun from the same Heb. stem (contained in amen and denoting what is firm, reliable ), may carry a meaning identical with the above ‘the just shall live by his faithfulness ’ (RVm [Note: Revised Version margin.] ). The original term has no other sense than ‘faithfulness’ or ‘truth’ elsewhere so in   Psalms 37:3 (RV [Note: Revised Version.] )   Psalms 96:13 ,   Deuteronomy 32:4 (RV [Note: Revised Version.] ),   Isaiah 11:5 etc.; the context in Hab., however, lends to it a pregnant emphasis, suggesting, besides the temper of steadfastness , its manifestation in steadfast adherence to Jehovah’s word; under the circumstances, passive fidelity becomes active faith ‘the righteous’ Israel ‘shall live’ not by way of reward for his loyalty, but by virtue of holding fast to Jehovah’s living word (cf.   Isaiah 1:12 ). If so, St. Paul has done no violence to the text in   Romans 1:17 ,   Galatians 3:11 . The corresponding vb. (from the root amen: in active and passive, to rely on , and to have reliance or be reliable ) occurs above 20 times with God, His character, word, or messengers, for object. More than half these examples (in Ex., Dt., Ps.) refer to faith or unbelief in the mission of Moses and Jehovah’s redemptive acts at the foundation of the national Covenant. The same vb. supplies two of Isaiah’s watchwords, in   Isaiah 7:9;   Isaiah 28:16 . The former sentence is an untranslatable epigram ‘If you will not hold fast, you shall have no holdfast!’, ‘No fealty, no safety!’; the latter leads us into the heart of OT faith, the collective trust of Israel in Jehovah as her Rock of foundation and salvation, which, as Isaiah declared (in   Isaiah 8:12-15 ), must serve also for ‘a stone of stumbling and rock of offence’ to the unfaithful. This combination of passages is twice made in the NT (  Romans 9:33 and   1 Peter 2:6-8 ), since the new house of God built of Christian believers rests on the foundation laid in Zion, viz. the character and promise of the Immutable, to whom now as then faith securely binds His people. In   Habakkuk 1:5 (cited   Acts 13:41 ) Israel’s unbelief in threatened judgment, in   Isaiah 53:1 (  John 12:38 ,   Romans 10:16 ) her unbelief in the promised salvation, coming through Jehovah’s humiliated Servant, are charged upon her as a fatal blindness. Thus the cardinal import of faith is marked at salient points of Israelite history, which NT interpreters seized with a sure instinct. At the head of the OT sayings on this subject stands   Genesis 15:6 , the text on which St. Paul founded his doctrine of justification by faith (see   Romans 4:9;   Romans 4:22 ,   Galatians 3:6; also   James 2:23 ); ‘and Abraham believed Jehovah, and he counted it to him for righteousness’ (JE [Note: Jewish Encyclopedia.] ) a crucial passage in Jewish controversy. St. Paul recognized in Abraham the exemplar of personal religion, antedating the legal system the faith of the man who stands in direct heart-relationship to God.   Genesis 15:6 supplies the key to his character and historical position: his heart’s trustful response to Jehovah’s promise made Abraham all that he has become to Israel and humanity; and ‘the men of faith’ are his children (  Galatians 3:6-8 ). Only here, however, and in   Habakkuk 2:4 , along with two or three passages in the Psalms (  Psalms 27:13;   Psalms 116:10 quoted   2 Corinthians 4:13 , and possibly   Psalms 119:66 ), does faith ipso nomine (or ‘believe’) assume the personal value which is of its essence in the NT. The difference in expression between the OT and NT in this respect discloses a deep-lying difference of religious experience. The national redemption of Israel (from Egypt) lay entirely on the plane of history, and was therefore to be ‘remembered’; whereas the death and rising of our Lord, while equally historical, belong to the spiritual and eternal, and are to be ‘believed.’ Under the Old Covenant the people formed the religious unit; the relations of the individual Israelite to Jehovah were mediated through the sacred institutions, and the Law demanded outward obedience rather than inner faith hearing the voice of Jehovah, ‘keeping his statutes,’ ‘walking in his way’; so (in the language of   Galatians 3:23 ) the age of faith was not yet. Besides this, the Israelite revelation was consciously defective and preparatory, ‘the law made nothing perfect’; when St. Paul would express to his fellow-countrymen in a word what was most precious to himself and them, he speaks not of ‘the faith’ but ‘the hope of Israel’ (  Acts 28:20 etc.), and the writer of   Hebrews 11:1-40 defines the faith of his OT heroes as ‘the assurance of things hoped for ’; accordingly, Hebrew terms giving to faith the aspect of expectation trusting, waiting, looking for Jehovah are much commoner than those containing the word ‘believe.’ Again, the fact that oppression and suffering entered so largely into the life of OT believers has coloured their confessions in psalm and prophecy; instead of believing in Jehovah, they speak of cleaving to Him, taking refuge under His wings, making Him a shield, a tower , etc. In all this the liveliness of Eastern sentiment and imagination comes into play; and while faith seldom figures under the bare abstract term, it is to be recognized in manifold concrete action and in dress of varied hue. Under the Old Covenant, as under the New, faith ‘wrought by love’ (  Deuteronomy 6:5 ,   Psalms 116:1 etc.,   Leviticus 19:18 etc.), while it inspired hope.

2. In NT . The NT use of pistis, pisteuô , is based on that of common Greek, where persuasion is the radical idea of the word. From this sprang two principal notions, meeting in the NT conception: ( a ) the ethical notion of confidence, trust in a person, his word, promise, etc., and then mutual trust , or the expression thereof in troth or pledge a usage with only a casual religious application in non-Biblical Greek; and ( b ) the intellectual notion of conviction, belief (in distinction from knowledge), covering all the shades of meaning from practical assurance down to conjecture, but always connoting sincerity, a belief held in good faith. The use of ‘faith’ in   Matthew 23:23 belongs to OT phraseology (see   Deuteronomy 32:20 , quoted above); also in   Romans 3:3 ,   Galatians 5:22 , pistis is understood to mean good faith, fidelity (RV [Note: Revised Version.] ‘faithfulness’), as often in classical Greek. In sense ( b ) pistis came into the language of theology, the gods being referred ( e.g. by Plutarch as a religious philosopher) to the province of faith, since they are beyond the reach of sense-perception and logical demonstration.

(1) In this way faith came to signify the religious faculty in the broadest sense, a generalization foreign to the OT. Philo Judæus, the philosopher of Judaism, thus employs the term; quoting   Genesis 15:6 , he takes Abraham for the embodiment of faith so understood, viewing it as the crown of human character, ‘the queen of the virtues’; for faith is, with Philo, a steady intuition of Divine things, transcending sense and logic; it is, in fact, the highest knowledge, the consummation of reason. This large Hellenistic meaning is conspicuous in   Hebrews 11:1 b,   Hebrews 11:6;   Hebrews 11:27 etc., and appears in St. Paul (  2 Corinthians 4:18;   2 Corinthians 5:7 ‘by faith not by appearance’). There is nothing distinctively Christian about faith understood in the bare significance of ‘seeing the invisible’ ‘the demons believe , and shudder’; the belief that contains no more is the ‘dead faith,’ which condemns instead of justifying (  James 2:14-26 ). As St. James and St. Paul both saw from different standpoints, Abraham, beyond the ‘belief that God is,’ recognized what God is and yielded Him a loyal trust, which carried the whole man with it and determined character and action; his faith included sense ( a ) of pisteuô (which lies in the Heb. vb. ‘believe’) along with ( b ). In this combination lies the rich and powerful import of NT ‘believing’: it is a spiritual apprehension joined with personal affiance; the recognition of truth in, and the plighting of troth with, the Unseen; in this twofold sense, ‘with the heart (the entire inner self) man believeth unto righteousness’ (  Romans 10:10 ). Those penetrated by the spirit of the OT could not use the word pistis in relation to God without attaching to it, besides the rational idea of supersensible apprehension , the warmer consciousness of moral trust and fealty native to it already in human relationships.

(2) Contact with Jesus Christ gave to the word a greatly increased use and heightened potence. ‘Believing’ meant to Christ’s disciples more than hitherto, since they had Him to believe in; and ‘believers,’ ‘they that had believed,’ became a standing name for the followers of Christ ( Acts 2:44 ,   Romans 10:4 ,   1 Corinthians 14:22 ,   Mark 16:17 ). A special endowment of this power given to some in the Church seems to be intended by the ‘faith’ of   1 Corinthians 12:9 (cf.   Matthew 17:19 f.,   Luke 17:5 f.). Faith was our Lord’s chief and incessant demand from men; He preaches, He works ‘powers,’ to elicit and direct it the ‘miracle-faith’ attracted by ‘signs and wonders’ being a stepping-stone to faith in the Person and doctrine of God’s Messenger. The bodily cures and spiritual blessings Jesus distributes are conditioned upon this one thing ‘Only believel’ ‘All things are possible to him that believeth.’ There was a faith in Jesus, real so far as it went but not sufficient for true discipleship, since it attached itself to His power and failed to recognize His character and spiritual aims (see   John 2:23 ff;   John 4:48;   John 6:14 ff;   John 7:31;   John 8:30 ff;   John 11:45;   John 12:11 ff;   John 14:11 ), which Jesus rejected and affronted; akin to this, in a more active sense, is the faith that ‘calls’ Him ‘Lord’ and ‘removes mountains’ in His name, but does not in love do the Father’s will, which He must disown (  Matthew 7:21 ff.,   1 Corinthians 13:2 ). Following the Baptist, Jesus sets out with the summons, ‘Repent, and believe the good news’ that ‘the kingdom of God is at hand’ (  Mark 1:15 ); like Moses, He expects Israel to recognize His mission as from God, showing ‘signs’ to prove this (see   John 2:11;   John 2:23;   John 3:2 etc.; cf.   Acts 2:22 ,   Hebrews 4:2 ). As His teaching advanced, it appeared that He required an unparalleled faith in Himself along with His message, that the Kingdom of God He speaks of centres in His Person, that in fact He is ‘the word’ of God He brings, He is the light and life whose coming He announces, ‘the bread from heaven’ that He has to give to a famished world (  John 6:33 ff;   John 8:12;   John 11:25;   John 14:6 etc.). For those ‘who received him,’ who ‘believed on his name’ in this complete sense, faith acquired a scope undreamed of before; it signified the unique attachment which gathered round the Person of Jesus a human trust, in its purity and intensity such as no other man had ever elicited, which grew up into and identified itself with its possessor’s belief in God, transforming the latter in doing so, and which drew the whole being of the believer into the will and life of his Master. When Thomas hails Jesus as ‘My Lord and my God!’ he ‘ has believed ’; this process is complete in the mind of the slowest disciple; the two faiths are now welded inseparably; the Son is known through the Father, and the Father through the Son, and Thomas gives full affiance to both in one. As Jesus was exalted, God in the same degree became nearer to these men, and their faith in God became richer in contents and firmer in grasp. So sure and direct was the communion with the Father opened by Jesus to His brethren, that the word ‘faith,’ as commonly used, failed to express it: ‘Henceforth ye know (the Father), and have seen him,’ said Jesus (  John 14:7 ); and St. John, using the vb. ‘believe’ more than any one, employs the noun ‘faith’ but once in Gospel and Epp. (  1 John 5:4 ) ‘ knowing God, the Father,’ etc., is, for him, the Christian distinction. Their Lord’s departure, and the shock and trial of His death, were needful to perfect His disciples’ faith (  John 16:7 ), removing its earthly supports and breaking its links with all materialistic Messianism. As Jesus ‘goes to the Father,’ they realize that He and the Father ‘are one’; their faith rests no longer, in any degree, on ‘a Christ after the flesh’; they are ready to receive, and to work in, the power of the Spirit whom He sends to them ‘from the Father.’ Jesus is henceforth identified with the spiritual and eternal order; to the faith which thus acknowledges Him He gives the benediction, ‘Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed’ (  John 20:29; cf.   1 Peter 1:8 ). To define this specific faith a new grammatical construction appears in NT Greek: one does not simply believe Jesus, or believe on Him, one believes into or unto Him, or His name (which contains the import of His person and offices) so in   Matthew 18:6 , and continually in Jn. (  John 2:11;   John 2:23;   John 3:18;   John 3:36;   John 4:39;   John 6:29;   John 6:35;   John 7:38 f.,   John 9:35;   John 11:25 f.,   John 12:36 f.,   John 14:1;   John 14:12 ,   John 17:20 etc.; also in Paul) which signifies so believing in Him as to ‘come to Him’ realizing what He is. By a variety of prepositional constructions, the Greek tongue, imperfectly followed in such refinements by our own, strives to represent the variety of attitude and bearing in which faith stands towards its Object. That the mission of Jesus Christ was an appeal for faith, with His own Person as its chief ground and matter, is strikingly stated in   John 20:31 : ‘These things are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life in his name.’ Christian faith is the decisive action of the whole inner man understanding, feeling, will; it is the trustful and self-surrendering acknowledgment of God in Christ.

(3) Further, Jesus called on the world to ‘believe the good news’ of His coming for redemption. This task, marked out by OT prophecy, and laid on Him at His birth ( Luke 1:68-79;   Luke 2:38 ) and baptism (  John 1:29 ), from an early period of His ministry Jesus connected with His death (see   John 2:19-22;   John 3:14 f.: and later,   Matthew 16:16-28;   Matthew 20:28 ,   Luke 9:31;   Luke 12:50 ,   John 12:23-25 ). The words of   Matthew 26:28 , which must be vindicated as original, make it clear that Jesus regarded His death as the culmination of His mission; at the Last Supper He is ready to offer His ‘blood’ to seal ‘the new covenant’ under which ‘forgiveness of sins’ will be universally guaranteed (cf.   Jeremiah 31:33 f.). Having concentrated on Himself the faith of men, giving to faith thereby a new heart and energy, He finally fastens that faith upon His death  ; He marks this event for the future as the object of the specifically saving faith. By this path, the risen Lord explained, He had ‘entered into his glory’ and ‘received from the Father the promise of the Spirit,’ in the strength of which His servants are commissioned to ‘preach to all the nations repentance and remission of sins’ (  Luke 24:46-48; cf.   Acts 2:22-38 ). Taught by Him, the Apostles understood and proclaimed their Master’s death as the hinge of the relations between God and man that centre in Christ; believing in Him meant, above all, believing in that , and finding in the cross the means of deliverance from sin and the revelation of God’s saving purpose toward the race (  Acts 3:18 f.,   Acts 20:28 ,   1 Corinthians 1:18-25 , 2Co 5:14-21 ,   1 Peter 3:18 ,   Revelation 1:4-6 , etc.). Faith in the resurrection of Jesus was logically antecedent to faith in His sacrificial death; for His rising from the dead set His dying in its true light (  Acts 4:10-12 ), revealing the shameful crucifixion of Israel’s Messiah as a glorious expiation for the guilt of mankind (  Hebrews 2:9 ,   Romans 4:25 ,   1 Peter 1:21 ). To ‘confess with one’s mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in one’s heart that God raised him from the dead,’ was therefore to fulfil the essential conditions of the Christian salvation (  Romans 10:9 ), since the Lord’s resurrection, including His ascension which completes it, gives assurance of the peace with God won by His accepted sacrifice (  Hebrews 7:25;   Hebrews 9:11-14;   Hebrews 10:19;   Hebrews 10:22 ); it vindicates His Divine Sonship and verifies His claims on human homage (  Romans 1:4 ,   Acts 2:36 ,   1 Peter 1:21 ); it guarantees ‘the redemption of the body,’ and the attainment, both for the individual and for the Church, of the glory of the Messianic Kingdom, the consummated salvation that is in Christ Jesus (  1 Corinthians 15:12-28 ,   Romans 8:17-23 ,   Ephesians 1:17-23 ,   Acts 17:31 ,   Revelation 1:5;   Revelation 1:17 f., etc.). In two words, the Christian faith is to ‘believe that Jesus died and rose again’ (  1 Thessalonians 4:14 ) that in dying He atoned for human sin, and in rising He abolished death. St. Paul was the chief exponent and defender of this ‘word of the cross,’ which is at the same time ‘the word of faith’ (  Romans 10:8 ); its various aspects and issues appear under the terms Justification, Atonement, Propitiation, Grace, Law (in NT), etc. But St. Peter in his 1st Ep., St. John in his 1st Ep. and Rev., and the writer of Hebrews, each in his own fashion, combine with St. Paul to focus the redeeming work of Jesus in the cross. According to the whole tenor of the NT, the forgiving grace of God there meets mankind in its sin; and faith is the hand reached out to accept God’s gifts of mercy proffered from the cross of Christ. The faculty of faith, which we understood in its fundamental meaning as the spiritual sense, the consciousness of God, is in no wise narrowed or diverted when it fixes itself on ‘Jesus Christ, and him crucified’; for, as St. Paul insists, ‘God commendeth his own love to us in that Christ died for us,’ ‘ God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself.’ ‘The glory of God’ shines into men’s hearts, His true character becomes for the first time apparent, and calls forth a full and satisfied faith, when beheld ‘in the face of Christ’ ( Rom 5:8 ,   2 Corinthians 4:6;   2 Corinthians 5:18-21 ).

G. G. Findlay.

Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology [3]

Belief, trust, and loyalty to a person or thing. Christians find their security and hope in God as revealed in Jesus Christ, and say "amen" to that unique relationship to God in the Holy Spirit through love and obedience as expressed in lives of discipleship and service.

The Old Testament . The Hebrew language has six terms that develop the fundamental ideas of belief, trust, and loyalty. The root bth [   Ezekiel 33:13 ) or related to warriors ( Hosea 10:13 ) and riches ( Jeremiah 49:4 ). But security that is a result of a trusting relationship with God is most important. It can be combined with the fear of the Lord and obedience to his Word so that the one who walks in the dark is encouraged to "trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God" ( Isaiah 50:10 ). It can also be equated with acknowledging God in all our ways in contrast to relying on our own understanding ( Proverbs 3:5-6 ).

The term hsh [   Judges 9:15 ). While being pursued by an enemy, David asks the Lord to "save and deliver" him based on a similar assertion: "I take refuge in you" ( Psalm 7:1 ). The idea of taking refuge can also be contrasted with trusting in people or princes ( Psalm 118:8-9 ). It is not surprising then that "those who seek refuge" in God are the same as the godly who experience the love and salvation of God ( Psalm 17:7 ). To acknowledge dependence on God for protection when in need of help is a unique mark of the godly.

The terms qwh [   Psalm 33:22 ); he confesses: "We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield" (33:20).These descriptions that express a hope in God that involves patience and persistence are expressions of faith. During the siege of Samaria, Ahab, who blamed his troubles on the Lord, showed a lack of faith when he asked, "Why should I wait for the Lord any longer?" ( 2 Kings 6:33 ).

The term mn [   1 Kings 8:26 ); and the prophet threatens, "I proclaim what is certain" when speaking of God's sure judgment ( Hosea 5:9 ). The proper response of individuals to this firm and stable activity of God is modeled by Abraham, who is chosen by God. Because his heart is faithful, God enters into a covenant with him that involves a homeland ( Nehemiah 9:7-8 ).

The recognition and acknowledgment of the relationship into which God enters with people is a declaratory saying of "amen" to God and a special religious attitude of the people of God. The commands of God demand a proper response. Individuals are to acknowledge his demands, regard him as trustworthy, and be obedient to him. Faith is a spiritual attitude involving activity. The children of Israel stood condemned because they rebelled at God's command to take possession of the land he had given them. Fundamental to this rebellion is the claim: "You did not trust him or obey him" ( Deuteronomy 9:23 ). On the other hand, Abram stood approved when he acknowledged the promise of God, and trusted God's power to perform what he had promised: "Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness" ( Genesis 15:6 ). The Lord indicated to Abram his plan for history, and Abram believed it to be something real and was filled with a firmness and security in the Lord. His subsequent exercise of patience and obedient actions are clear indications of the meaning of faith.

The setting and origin of the term "faith" as used in the Old Testament are intimately linked to the covenant between God and his people. The term sums up all the ways by which people express their relationship to God. Isaiah dares to equate existence and faith when he claims that the people of God have their particular manner of being, and are established through their faith ( Isaiah 7:9 ). This understanding is in sharp contrast with the picture of Ahaz, who rejects God's invitation to confirm the truth of his word, and then ironically is given the promise of Immanuel ( Isaiah 7:14 ). In the fulfillment of this promise lies the challenge of the New Testament to redefine faith.

The New Testament . The transition from the Old Testament to the New Testament understanding of faith involves an appreciation of the continuity between them and that which is unique in the New Testament. The concepts of covenant, people of God, revelation, and the activity of God in history continue from the Old Testament to the New Testament. The unique understanding in the New Testament is defined by a new covenant, and the people of God being identified by their response to God's Son, Jesus. In the language of the New Testament, the common Greek of Jesus' day, we are told how God enters history as the Christ in the person of his Son Jesus, and remains active in the world through his Holy Spirit and the church.

The Septuagint, as a transitional text between the Hebrew of the Old Testament and the Greek of the New Testament, fixes the theological vocabulary that the church uses to define what God has done, is doing, and will do. The meaning of faith in the New Testament is then both a reflection of its continuity with the Old Testament and an expression of its uniqueness in a different historical and cultural setting. In the representative selections from the Old Testament that we have examined, only one term, mn [אָמַן אָמַן], is consistently translated in the Septuagint by a single concept, pisteuein/pistos [Πιστεύω/Πιστός]. It is this concept that the Synoptic Gospels, Acts, the Epistles, and the Johannine writings use to examine and illustrate the meaning of faith in the New Testament.

The Synoptic Gospels . As for the ancient Israelites so for the new people of God, faith means primarily confident trust based on God's promise as understood through his Word ( Luke 1:20;  24:25 ). In Jesus Christ, the living Word of God, and the gospel, the true message of God, people are called to say "yes" to God and to recognize the messenger and the message as true ( Mark 1:15 ).

For Jesus, God is Father and King. This claim involves a unique sense of presence and communion with God, as well as the call to his hearers to respond to his own claim of Sonship ( Mark 12:1-12 ), and his interpretation of the kingdom of God as being near ( Matthew 12:22-28 ). Mark opens his Gospel with the simple assertion that this is "the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God" (1:1). It begins with the ministry of John the Baptist, which climaxes with the baptism of Jesus and the heavenly announcement of Jesus' Sonship (1:11; cf.  Matthew 3:17;  Luke 3:22 ). This announcement is repeated during Jesus' transfiguration and followed by the command, "Listen to him" ( Mark 9:7; cf.  Matthew 17:5;  Luke 9:35 ). In the beginning of his ministry Jesus proclaims the gospel in terms of the nearness of the kingdom and the need to believe ( Mark 1:14-15 ). Specifically, the parables of Jesus and the Sermon on the Mount call for a response. The parable of the sower calls the proper response to Jesus' word "believing" ( Luke 8:12-13 ). The Sermon on the Mount ( Matthew 5-7 ), as the ethics of those who are to live under the rule of God as Father, concludes with Jesus' admonition to be wise and to put these words into practice (7:24-27; cf. 5:19-20).

The results of faith are seen in the radical changes that people experience when they place their trust in Jesus. The Gospels make the faith response explicit in particular miracles. The centurion's servant ( Matthew 8:13 ), a paralytic ( Matthew 9:2 ), a woman who had been sick for twelve years ( Mark 5:34 ), a twelve-year-old child who died ( Mark 5:36 ), and a blind beggar ( Luke 18:42 ) are all examples from the Synoptic Gospels of those who are told by Jesus: "Your faith has healed you."

In the Gospel of Mark the fearful and amazed responses of individuals to the person and work of Jesus are indicators of belief or unbelief. The amazement of the people in the Capernaum synagogue at Jesus' teaching and healing of a man possessed by an evil spirit leads to their recognition of his authority ( Mark 1:21-27 ). When this same amazement is expressed by the people in the synagogue in Jesus' hometown, it leads to offense and Jesus' comment on their lack of faith ( Mark 6:1-6 ). The side-by-side stories of the healing of the woman with a hemorrhage and the raising of Jairus's daughter from the dead have as a common theme the conquering of fear and the exercise of faith that results in new life ( Mark 5:32-34,36 ). In two incidents on the Sea of Galilee the disciples, when rescued by Jesus, respond with fear and amazement that are identified as a lack of faith ( Mark 4:40-41 ) or a hardness of heart ( Mark 6:50-52 ). These conditions prevent them from responding to Jesus when he reveals to them what it means to be the Messiah ( Mark 8:31-32;  9:31-32;  10:32-34 ), or from hearing how believers can be true followers of this Messiah (8:34-38; 9:33-37; 10:41-45). Because Mark is intent on clarifying for the church the central truth that Jesus as the Son of Man is a suffering-servant Messiah whose example they must be willing to follow, a blind Bartimaeus, who is healed as he exercises faith, becomes the model disciple as he follows Jesus to Jerusalem and the way of the cross with his new sight.

Jesus asserts, in a discussion with skeptical disciples, that power is available to all who have faith ( Mark 11:23 ), and that prayer is one means for expressing this faith ( Mark 11:24 ). This paradoxical power of faith is seen not only in its "mountain-mover" quality, which is a kind of participation in God's creative activity, but also in its comparison with a minute grain of mustard seed ( Luke 17:6 ). To place one's trust in Jesus is to open the door for radical change in the meaning of life itself.

The Book of Acts . In its record of the statements and activities of the early church, Acts emphasizes that Jesus Christ is the focus of faith. If faith in the Synoptic Gospels means confident trust based on God's promise as understood through his word and the person of his Son, then in Acts, which serves as a bridge between the Gospels and the Epistles, it is that and more. A single statement about faith in God is clarified as "belief in the Lord" (5:14; 9:42; 11:21; 14:23; 18:8) or "belief in Jesus" (3:16; 19:4), and made comprehensive when linked to the idea of salvation through the hearing of the word (4:4; 13:12). Gentiles (11:21; 13:12,48; 15:7; 17:34; 21:25), Jews (6:7; 15:5; 16:1; 18:8; 21:20) and people of both genders (5:14) will be saved when they believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.

The church, in responding to the example and words of Jesus radicalized the Old Testament meaning of faith. By means of the ministries of Peter and Paul, Luke paints a vivid picture of the internal and external struggles of the Christian community as both the synagogue and the Jerusalem church resist breaking from the strict keeping of the law and the limitations of racial descent to acknowledge the claim that salvation is by faith in Jesus Christ alone (4:12; 15:14). All those who accept the gospel message and Christ's lordship are identified as "believing ones" (4:32; 11:21; 18:27; 19:18; 22:19), a synonym for "Christians."

In anticipation of the more formal analysis of the Epistles, faith in Acts is linked to baptism (8:12-13; 18:8; 19:2), confession (19:18), forgiveness (10:43), grace (15:11; 18:27), healing (3:16; 14:9), the Holy Spirit (19:2), justification (13:39), purification (15:9), and sanctification (26:18). Faith is also portrayed as something one can be full of (11:24), turned from (13:8), remain true to (14:22), and be strengthened in (16:5). Basic to all of these ideas is the understanding that the act of believing is also a commitment to a community of worship (5:12), the meeting of the needs of others (2:44-45), and the sharing of this faith with all as Jesus told them (1:7-8).

The Epistles . The fundamental Jewish position—that the law is God's love-gift to his people and that by fulfilling its requirements they could attain the righteousness of Godis countered in the Epistles by the claim that salvation is by faith in the crucified and risen Christ. Saul, a Jew whose persecution of the Christians was based on this premise ( Acts 22:3-5 ), after meeting the risen Christ becomes a Paul who with opened eyes receives the Holy Spirit and preaches that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God ( Acts 9;  Galatians 1:23 ). His letters to the churches validate the claim that faith in Christ is the only means of attaining the righteousness of God ( Romans 1:16-17;  Philippians 3:7-9 ).

According to Paul in his letter to the church in Rome, the moral degradation of all people becomes the occasion for God's saving activity (1:18-3:20), with a resulting righteousness being received by faith (3:21-31). This salvation is variously described by Paul using the analogies of justification ( Romans 3:24;  4:25 ), redemption ( Romans 3:24;  1 Corinthians 1:30 ), reconciliation ( Romans 5:10;  2 Corinthians 5:18-20 ), and freedom ( Galatians 4:1-7;  5:1 ). James' argument for the necessary outworking of this salvation in good works (2:14-24) is countered by Paul's insistence on the working of the grace of God in the act of faith for salvation ( Romans 3:24-31 ).

The effect of faith in the life of the believer can be generalized under the picture of a new creation ( 2 Corinthians 5:17 ), but is also particularized in terms of sonship ( Romans 8:14-17;  Galatians 4:4-7 ), unity ( 1 Corinthians 1:10 ), love ( 1 Corinthians 13;  Galatians 5:6,22 ), hope ( Romans 6:8;  1 Peter 1:21 ), and steadfastness ( Hebrews 11 ). Paul's letters to the churches, with their recitation of problems with unity, love, and hope, seem to deny these claims. If faith means being a new creation, why is there so little unity and love in the Corinthian church and so little hope in the Thessalonian church? Paul's answer is twofold. First, he acknowledges the tension between the power of God at work in the people of faith and their continuing mortality ( 2 Corinthians 4:7-12 ). Second, he reminds the Corinthians that the presence of the Spirit empowers God's people in their mortality now and also serves as a deposit guaranteeing what is to come, so that they live now by faith and not by sight ( 2 Corinthians 5:5-7;  2 Thessalonians 2:13-17 ). The writer to the Hebrews uses this same definition, plus the examples of Old Testament persons of faith and Jesus, as a basis for the exhortation to live the life of faith and Jesus, as a basis for the exhortation to live the life of faith in the face of its hindrances ( Hebrews 10:35-12:12 ).

The later letters in the New Testament to Timothy and Titus, in addition to their continuing use of these dynamic definitions of faith, distinguish true faith from false faith by making the content of faith confessional ( 2 Timothy 4:3;  Titus 1:9 ). Sound doctrine becomes the basis for right teaching ( Titus 2:1 ) and right living ( 2 Timothy 3:15 ). Paul's words to Timothy when faced with the prospect of death"I have kept the faith" ( 2 Timothy 4:7 )can be a witness to both the dynamic quality of his life in Christ and the correctness of his understanding.

The Johannine Writings . The change to a specific vocabulary for speaking about faith is most evident in the Gospel and Epistles of John. The Greek verb "to believe" ( pisteuein [   1 John 5:5 ). The Fourth Gospel's ninety-eight uses of the verb for believing contrast with only thirty uses in all of the Synoptic Gospels. All four Gospels refer to believing facts ( hoti clause:  Matthew 9:28;  Mark 11:23-24;  Luke 1:45;  John 6:69 ), to believing people or Scripture (dative case:  Matthew 21:25;  Mark 11:31;  Luke 1:20;  John 2:22 ), and believing without a stated object (absolute use:  Matthew 8:13;  Mark 5:36;  Luke 8:12-13;  John 1:50 ). The Gospel of John alone stresses what it means to believe into ( eis [Δανιστής Δανειστής]) Jesus Christ.

From the beginning of the Gospel, where we are told that John the Baptist's witness to Jesus as the light is "so that through him all men might believe" (1:7), until the Gospel's concluding statement of purpose"That you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name" (20:31), the gospel is presented as a call to faith. Jesus Christ, as the object of faith, is first portrayed as the Word become flesh who comes into the world to make it possible for all to become children of God by believing/receiving him (1:10-14), and finally shown to be the risen Christ who in belief is acknowledged as Lord and God (20:28-29). In between these two brackets belief or unbelief is determined by people's responses to Jesus' signs in which he reveals his glory (2:11), his power to heal (4:53; 5:9), his willingness to meet the needs of the hungry (6:12-14), the helpless (6:21,61-70), and the blind (9:38), and to raise the dead (11:25-26). To his disciples he explains how they too can "overcome the world" (16:33). Their confession of faith at the end of the discourse in the upper room affirms their willingness to let their relationship with Jesus define the essence of their life and faith (16:29-30; cf. 14:20-21; 15:1-17; 16:12-15).

The intensity of the relational in John's description of believing in Christ may be compared to Paul's use of the term "in Christ" to define what it means to be a Christian ( Romans 6:11,23 ). The result of this relationship is a movement from darkness to light ( John 12:46 ), from death to life ( John 11:25-26 ), and a love that reciprocates the love of the Father for the Son and for the world ( John 15:9-13;  3:16 ) as the believer is involved in active, self-giving service ( John 13:1,12-17 ). The power for this is to be found after Jesus' resurrection in the continuing relationship between the Son and the believer through the Holy Spirit ( John 14:15-27;  16:5-15;  7:37-39 ).

The Book of Revelation, with its stress on that which is to come, sees faith almost entirely from the perspective of the end and the exalted role of the martyr as a faithful witness (2:10,13, 19; 14:12) who is compared with Jesus Christ who is also designated as faithful (1:5; 3:14; 19:11). All whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life respond to the promise of this Faithful One, "I am coming soon, " with the prayer, "Marana tha."

Herbert L. Swartz

See also Faithfulness; Health Heal; Union With Christ

Bibliography . H. Berkhof, Christian Faith  ; R. M. Brown, Is Faith Obsolete?  ; G. Ebeling, The Nature of Faith  ; R. M. Hals, Grace and Faith in the Old Testament  ; D. B. Harbuch, The Dynamics of Belief  ; H.-J. Hermisson and E. Lahse, Faith  ; J. G. Machen, What Is Faith?

Holman Bible Dictionary [4]

Our English word “faith” comes from the Latin fides , as developed through the Old French words fei and feid . In Middle English (1150-1475) “faith” replaced a word that eventually evolved into “belief.” “Faith” came to mean “loyalty to a person to whom one is bound by promise or duty.” Faith was fidelity. “Belief” came to be distinguished from faith as an intellectual process having to do with the acceptance of a proposition. The verb form of “faith” dropped out of English usage toward the end of the sixteenth century.

Old Testament Expressions The word “faith” occurs in the Old Testament only twice in the KJV, eighteen times in the RSV, and sixteen times in the NIV. This discrepancy becomes even more interesting when we note that the RSV and the NIV agree on only five of these verses of Scripture ( Deuteronomy 32:51;  Judges 9:16 ,Judges 9:16, 9:19;  Isaiah 26:2;  Habakkuk 2:4 ), and the KJV concurs with them only on the translation of  Habakkuk 2:4 . These differences revolve around problems with the translation of two Hebrew roots, ma'al and aman .

The first of these roots, ma'al , is a negative term that means “to be deceitful, treacherous, or unfaithful.” The Rsv, Nas and the NIV translate this word with the phrase “broke faith” ( Deuteronomy 32:51;  Joshua 22:16 ) or with “acted unfaithfully” ( Deuteronomy 32:51;  Joshua 7:1 ). The KJV translates this root in those same verses with the word “trespass.” While the Hebrew uses no single noun for “faith” in these verses, the translators have in each case rendered the sense of the Hebrew.

The second root, aman , is more difficult to translate because its meaning changes as it passes through the various Hebrew verb forms. There are seven such forms, but this root occurs in only three of them. In the first and most basic verb form the root means to support or nourish and is used of a parent's care for a child. In the second verb-form one encounters a range of meanings having to do with being secure.

Only the third verb form was rendered with the Greek word for faith in the New Testament and in the Septuagint, an early Greek version of the Old Testament originating in Alexandria. Aman expresses the idea of stability and steadfastness in this form and is translated as standing firm (  Job 39:24 , RSV;  Isaiah 7:9 NIV), or “to trust” (a person) or “to believe” (a statement). One stands firm in one's convictions. In relationships, one trusts persons and believes their testimony or promises. Thus, we find no Hebrew noun for “faith” in the Old Testament, only verbs that have been translated with “faith” because of New Testament influence.

If we do not find the noun “faith” in the Old Testament, we surely find the concept named with other words. In the Old Testament faith is described as the “fear of God” ( Genesis 20:11;  Psalm 111:10;  Ecclesiastes 12:13;  Malachi 4:2 ), and in terms of trust ( 2 Chronicles 20:20;  Psalm 4:5 ,  Isaiah 26:4 ), and obedience ( Exodus 19:5;  1 Samuel 15:22 ,  Jeremiah 7:23 ). Faith is a New Testament concept that encompasses and enriches these Old Testament concepts. The English versions of the Old Testament have translated a pair of Hebrew verbs using the noun “faith.” They do so in order to express the understanding of God's relation to humanity that has grown out of the New Testament.

Because the Old Testament does not have a word equivalent to the English noun, “faith,” does not mean the idea of faith is unimportant for the Old Testament.  Habakkuk 2:4 was properly taken by Paul as the center of Old Testament religion. God prepared the way for His people in mercy and grace, then called them to obedience. To accept the responsibilities of God's covenant was to trust His word that He alone was God and to commit one's life to His promises for the present and future. That is faith.

New Testament Expressions The Greek noun, pistis (faith), is related to the verb pisteuo (I have faith, trust, believe). The noun and verb are found virtually everywhere in the New Testament, with the notable exception that the noun is absent altogether from John's Gospel and occurs only once in 1John. The verb form does not occur in Philemon, 2Peter, 2,3John, or Revelation.

Classical Greek used pistis and piseuo to mean “trust” or “confidence.” In this period belief in the existence of the gods of the Greek pantheon would be expressed with the verb nomizo (to think, believe, hold, consider). In the Hellenistic period, however, both the noun and verb moved from secular to religious usage. The noun came to mean piety, and the verb took on the meaning “to believe”—a usage derived from debates with atheism in which faith required the overcoming of objections.

In the New Testament “faith” is used in a number of ways, but primarily with the meaning “trust” or “confidence” in God. This basic meaning is particularly evident in the Synoptic Gospels.  Mark 1:15 introduces and summarizes the Gospel with Jesus' charge to his hearers to “repent ye, and believe the gospel.” (The word usually translated “believe” in this verse is the verb form of “faith” for which there is no English equivalent. The call is repeated as “Have faith in God,” using the noun form, in   Mark 11:22 .) Thus, Jesus called His hearers to place their confidence in God. It is common in the Synoptics for Jesus to say after healing someone, “thy faith hath made thee whole” ( Matthew 9:22;  Mark 5:34;  Luke 7:50;  Luke 8:48 .) One's confidence in or allegiance to God makes one whole. John expressed a similar understanding of faith in  Luke 6:29 and   Luke 14:1 where people are called to have faith in the Christ. The difference between John and the Synoptics is a grammatical one; John used only the verb and never the noun for faith.

Outside the Gospels faith is related to the keynote concepts of the Christian message: the state of salvation ( Ephesians 2:8-9 ), sanctification ( Acts 26:18 ), purification ( Acts 15:9 ), justification or imputed righteousness ( Romans 4:5;  Romans 5:1;  Galatians 3:24 ), adoption as children of God ( Galatians 3:26 ). Each of these comes by faith. As in the Gospels, faith is an attitude toward and relationship with God mediated by Christ Jesus. It is surrender to God's gift of righteousness in Christ rather than seeking to achieve righteousness alone.

Faith is also called a fruit of the Holy Spirit ( Galatians 5:22 )—something God creates in a person. In another place “faith” is used quite differently as a gift of the Holy Spirit that is given to some but not to others ( 1 Corinthians 12:8-9 ). Apparently such special gifts of faith refer to the ability to do great acts for God, what Jesus called moving mountains ( Matthew 17:20;  1 Corinthians 13:2 ).

The New Testament sometimes uses “faith” to designate Christianity itself or that which Christians believe ( Acts 6:7;  Ephesians 4:5;  Colossians 1:23; Tim.  Colossians 1:19;  Jude 1:3 ). In this usage it is clear that an element of what we call belief is essential to the personal relationship we are calling “faith.” Here it would be well to note  Hebrews 11:6 also—”But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is” In this verse also the word translated “believe” is the Greek verb form of “faith.” Context here dictates that we understand it in the sense of intellectual acceptance of a proposition, “belief.” To have a right relation with God, it is necessary to “believe” that God is, that God has revealed Himself in Christ, and to accept God accepts you.

If faith is the religion itself, it is so in more than an intellectual way. Faith is also the living out of the religion; it is Christianity in action. This is the meaning of “We walk by faith, not by sight” ( 2 Corinthians 5:7 ). “Walking” represents the totality of one's way of life. Paul wrote that “faith,” both in the sense of Christian piety and of the trust and confidence one puts in God, determines action in life. Faith changes the standards and priorities of life. Similarly, using the imagery of a soldier's armor, Paul said that faith is a shield against sin and evil in our lives ( Ephesians 6:16;  1 Thessalonians 5:8 ).

If Christianity itself may be called “the faith,” then it is a small step to the New Testament usage of the participle of the verb form of faith to designate Christians. This form is often translated “believers” (it occurs most often in the plural) or “those who believe” ( Acts 4:32;  Romans 1:16 ). If we continue our distinction between faith and belief, we would prefer the translation “those who have faith” or the ungrammatical “those who faith.”

The nearest the New Testament comes to presenting a definition of “faith” per se is in  Hebrews 11:1 . Here faith is called “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (RSV). Thus, Hebrews closely ties faith very to Christian hope. The personal conviction of faith encourages the Christian to continue hoping for the fulfillment of the promises of God, but it is not the substance (as in the KJV) of these “things hoped for” in any normal sense of “substance.” The “things hoped for” have a reality greater than anyone's hoping for them. Faith is then meant as a sort of foretaste of the hoped for things.

Faith as the Way to Salvation. The concept of faith is primarily that of a personal relationship with God that determines the priorities of one's life. This relationship is one of love that is built on trust and dependence. We receive it by trusting the saving work of Jesus. Faith is the basic Christian experience, the decision for Christ Jesus. It is the acceptance of Christ's lordship (i.e., His God-given, absolute authority). In this sense faith is doubly a break from the past: it is one's removal from sin, and it is one's removal from all other religious allegiances ( 1 Thessalonians 1:9 ). As a break from the past, faith is the beginning of relation to God and not an end. It is, especially in Paul's letters, the inauguration of incorporation “in Christ,” in which one continues to grow and develop.

If faith is primarily a relationship into which one enters through acceptance of Jesus' authority, it also includes a certain amount of “belief.” As a derived use, then, “faith” may also denote the content of what is believed. In this sense faith is the conviction that God acted in the history of

Israel and “that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself” ( 2 Corinthians 5:19 ). In theological usage “the faith” may refer to many more doctrines and dogmas that have been developed since New Testament times, but in the New Testament “that which must be believed” was more limited as  Romans 10:9-10 may demonstrate. Conclusion Faith is what we believe, it is Christianity itself, but primarily it is the relationship we have with God through what Jesus accomplished in His death and resurrection.

William L. Self

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [5]

in Scripture, is presented to us under two leading views: the first is that of assent or persuasion; the second, that of confidence or reliance. The former may be separate from the latter, but the latter cannot exist without the former. Faith, in the sense of an intellectual assent to truth, is, by St. James, allowed to devils. A dead, inoperative faith is also supposed, or declared, to be possessed by wicked men, professing Christianity; for our Lord represents persons coming to him at the last day, saying, "Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name?" &c, to whom he will say, "Depart from me, I never knew you." And yet the charge in this place does not lie against the sincerity of their belief, but against their conduct as "workers of iniquity." As this distinction is taught in Scripture, so it is also observed in experience: assent to the truths of revealed religion may result from examination and conviction, while yet the spirit and conduct may remain unrenewed and sinful.

2. The faith which is required of us as a condition of salvation always includes confidence or reliance, as well as assent or persuasion. That faith by which "the elders obtained a good report," was of this character; it united assent to the truth of God's revelations with a noble confidence in his promise. "Our fathers trusted in thee, and were not confounded." We have a farther illustration in our Lord's address to his disciples upon the withering away of the fig tree: "Have faith in God." He did not question whether they believed the existence of God, but exhorted them to confidence in his promises, when called by him to contend with mountainous difficulties: "Have faith in God; for verily I say unto you, that whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea, and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe (trust) that these things which he saith shall come to pass, he shall have whatsoever he saith." It was in reference to his simple confidence in Christ's power that our Lord so highly commended the centurion, and said, "I have not found so great faith, no not in Israel,"   Matthew 8:10 . And all the instances of faith in the persons miraculously healed by Christ, were also of this kind: their faith was belief in his claims, and also confidence in his goodness and power.

3. That faith in Christ which in the New Testament is connected with salvation, is clearly of this nature; that is, it combines assent with reliance, belief with trust. "Whatsoever ye ask the Father in my name," that is, in dependence upon my interest and merits, "he shall give it you." Christ was preached both to Jews and Gentiles as the object of their trust, because he was preached as the only true sacrifice for sin; and they were required to renounce their dependence upon their own accustomed sacrifices, and to transfer that dependence to his death and mediation,—and "In his name shall the Gentiles trust." He is said to be set forth as a propitiation, "through faith in his blood;" which faith can neither merely mean assent to the historical fact that his blood was shed by a violent death; nor mere assent to the general doctrine that his blood had an atoning quality; but as all expiatory offerings were trusted in as the means of propitiation both among Jews and Gentiles, faith or trust was now to be exclusively rendered to the blood of Christ, as the divinely appointed sacrifice for sin, and the only refuge of the true penitent.

4. To the most unlettered Christian this then will be very obvious, that true and saving faith in Christ consists both of assent and trust; but this is not a blind and superstitious trust in the sacrifice of Christ, like that of the Heathens in their sacrifices; nor the presumptuous trust of wicked and impenitent men, who depend on Christ to save them in their sins; but such a trust as is exercised according to the authority and direction of the word of God; so that to know the Gospel in its leading principles, and to have a cordial of belief in it, is necessary to that more specific act of faith which is called reliance, or in systematic language, fiducial assent. The Gospel, as a scheme of man's salvation, declares that he is under the law; that this law of God has been violated by all; and that every man is under sentence of death. Serious consideration of our ways, confession of the fact, and sorrowful conviction of the evil and danger of sin, will, under the influence of divine grace, follow the cordial belief of the testimony of God; and we shall then turn to God with contrite hearts, and earnest prayers, and supplications for his mercy. This is called "repentance toward God," and repentance being the first subject of evangelical preaching, and then the injunction to believe the Gospel, it is plain, that Christ is only immediately held out, in this divine plan of our redemption, as the object, of trust in order to forgiveness to persons in this state of penitence, and under this sense of danger. The degree of sorrow for sin, and alarm upon this discovery of our danger as sinners, is no where fixed to a precise standard in Scripture; only it is supposed every where, that it is such as to lead men to inquire earnestly, "What shall I do to be saved? " and with earnest seriousness to use all the appointed means of grace, as those who feel that their salvation is at issue, that they are in a lost condition, and must be pardoned or perish. To all such persons, Christ, as the only atonement for sin, is exhibited as the object of their trust, with the promise of God, "that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life." Nothing is required of such but this actual trust in, and personal apprehension or taking hold of, the merits of Christ's death as a sacrifice for sin; and upon their thus believing they are justified, their "faith is counted for righteousness," or, in other words, they are forgiven.

5. This appears to be the plain Scriptural representation of this doctrine; and we may infer from it,

(1.) That the faith by which we are justified is not a mere assent to the doctrines of the Gospel, which leaves the heart unmoved and unaffected by a sense of the evil and danger of sin and the desire of salvation, although it supposes this assent; nor,

(2.) Is it that more lively and cordial assent to, and belief in, the doctrine of the Gospel, touching our sinful and lost condition, which is wrought in the heart by the Spirit of God, and from which springeth repentance, although this must precede it; nor,

(3.) Is it only the assent of the mind to the method by which God justifies the ungodly by faith in the sacrifice of his Son, although this is an element of it; but it is a hearty concurrence of the will and affections with this plan of salvation, which implies a renunciation of every other refuge, and an actual trust in the Saviour, and personal apprehension of his merits: such a belief of the Gospel by the power of the Spirit of God as leads us to come to Christ, to receive Christ, to trust in Christ, and

to commit the keeping of our souls into his hands, in humble confidence of his ability and his willingness to save us.

6. This is that qualifying condition to which the promise of God annexes justification; that without which justification would not take place; and in this sense it is that we are justified by faith; not by the merit of faith, but by faith instrumentally as this condition: for its connection with the benefit arises from the merits of Christ and the promise of God. If Christ has not merited, God had not promised; if God had not promised, justification had never followed upon this faith; so that the indissoluble connection of faith and justification is from God's institution, whereby he hath bound himself to give the benefit upon performance of the condition. Yet there is an aptitude in this faith to be made a condition; for no other act can receive Christ as a Priest propitiating and pleading the propitiation, and the promise of God for his sake to give the benefit. As receiving Christ and the gracious promise in this manner, it acknowledgeth man's guilt, and so man renounceth all righteousness in himself, and honoureth God the Father, and Christ the Son, the only Redeemer. It glorifies God's mercy and free grace in the highest degree. It acknowledges on earth, as it will be perpetually acknowledged in heaven, that the whole salvation of sinful man, from the beginning to the last degree thereof, whereof there shall be no end, is from God's freest love, Christ's merit and intercession, his own gracious promise, and the power of his own Holy Spirit.

7. Faith, in Scripture, sometimes is taken for the truth and faithfulness of God,   Romans 3:3; and it is also taken for the persuasion of the mind as to the lawfulness of things indifferent,  Romans 14:22-23; and it is likewise put for the doctrine of the Gospel, which is the object of faith,  Acts 24:24; Php_1:27;  Judges 1:3; for the belief and profession of the Gospel,  Romans 1:8; and for fidelity in the performance of promises.

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [6]

In the original language of the New Testament, the noun ‘faith’ and the verb ‘believe’ are different parts of the same word. Although faith involves belief, by far the most important characteristic of faith (in the biblical sense) is reliance, or trust.

To have faith in a person or thing is to rely wholly on that person or thing, and not to rely on oneself. The Bible usually speaks of faith in relation to people’s trust in, or dependence on, God and his works. This dependence may concern aspects of physical life such as God’s provision of food, health, protection from harm and victory over enemies ( Psalms 22:4-5;  Psalms 37:3-4;  Psalms 46:1-3;  Matthew 6:30-33;  Hebrews 11:33-35), but above all it concerns aspects of spiritual life such as God’s provision of salvation and eternal life ( Psalms 18:2;  Psalms 40:4;  Psalms 71:5;  Psalms 73:26;  Proverbs 3:5;  Jeremiah 17:7;  John 3:16;  Romans 1:16;  Romans 5:1).

Saved by faith

Whether in the era before Christ or after, people have been saved only through faith in the sovereign God who in his mercy and grace forgives sin; and the basis on which God forgives sin is the death of Jesus Christ ( Romans 3:24-26;  Romans 4:16;  Romans 4:22-25;  2 Corinthians 4:13;  Galatians 3:11; see Justification ; Sacrifice ). People can never be saved from sin, never be accepted by God, on the basis of their good works or their law-keeping. They can do nothing to deserve or win God’s favour ( Romans 4:1-5;  Romans 9:30-32;  Romans 10:3-4). God saves people solely by his grace, and they receive this salvation by faith ( Ephesians 2:8-9).

Faith in itself does not save. It is simply the means by which the sinner accepts the salvation that God offers. God’s salvation is not a reward for faith; it is a gift that no one deserves, but any person can receive it by faith ( Romans 3:25;  Romans 5:15). For example, if someone out of kindness decides to give a friend a gift, the friend must accept that gift in order to own it. But the gift is given freely; it is not a reward for the friend’s act of acceptance.

Again, faith is not something a person can boast about. There is no merit in faith. All the merit lies in the object of faith, God, who through Jesus Christ has become the Saviour of sinners ( John 3:16;  John 3:18;  John 7:31;  John 17:20;  Acts 20:21;  1 John 5:12-13). Consider another example. If a sailor in a sinking ship jumps into a lifeboat, that lifeboat means everything to the sailor. His faith in jumping into it, far from being an act of merit, is an admission of helplessness. The lifeboat, the object of faith, is what takes the sailor to safety.

Faith in God is not effort, but the ceasing of effort. It is not doing, but relying on what Christ has done. It is an attitude whereby guilty sinners gives up their own efforts to win salvation, no matter how good they be, and completely trust in Christ, and in him alone, for their salvation ( Acts 16:30-31;  Galatians 2:16). Without such an attitude, no person can receive God’s salvation ( Hebrews 11:6 a).

The faith by which people receive salvation is not merely an acknowledgment of certain facts (though this is necessary, since believers must know who and what they are trusting in;  John 2:22;  John 3:12;  John 6:69;  John 8:24-25;  Romans 10:9-10;  Hebrews 11:6 b;  1 John 5:20). Rather it is a belief by which believers commit themselves wholly to Christ in complete dependence. It is not just accepting certain things as true (for even God’s enemies may have that sort of belief;  James 2:19), but trusting in a person, Jesus Christ. Some may say they have a general faith in God, but if they refuse to have specific faith in Jesus Christ, their ‘faith’ is a form of self-deception ( John 5:24;  John 14:6;  1 John 2:23).

So basic is faith to Christianity, that the New Testament uses the name ‘believers’ as another name for Christians ( Acts 5:14;  Romans 3:26;  1 Timothy 4:12). Likewise it uses ‘the faith’ as another name for Christianity ( 1 Timothy 5:8;  1 Timothy 6:10;  1 Timothy 6:21).

Living by faith

Christians are not only saved by faith, they live by faith. They continue to rely on the promise and power of the unseen God rather than on what they see and experience in the visible world ( 1 Corinthians 2:5;  2 Corinthians 5:6-7;  Colossians 1:23;  Colossians 2:7;  Hebrews 11:1). Their lives are lived in constant dependence on God. Christ has borne the penalty of sin on their behalf and now lives within them. Only as they trust in his power can they experience in practice the victory, peace and joy that their salvation has brought ( Galatians 2:20;  Galatians 5:6;  Ephesians 1:19). The strength of the faith by which they live depends largely on the strength of their personal relationship with Jesus Christ ( Romans 14:1;  2 Thessalonians 1:3;  2 Peter 1:5-8;  2 Peter 3:18).

A professed faith that does not produce a change for the better in a person’s behaviour is not true faith; it is not a faith that leads to salvation. Those who have genuine faith will give clear proof of it by their good conduct ( Galatians 5:6;  1 Timothy 5:8;  James 2:18-26).

Sometimes the Bible speaks of faith in the special sense of trust in God to do something unusual or supernatural ( Matthew 9:22;  Matthew 9:28;  Matthew 17:19-20;  Mark 2:5;  Mark 9:23;  Luke 7:9;  Luke 8:25;  James 5:14-15; see Disease ; Miracles ; Prayer ). To some Christians God gives a gift of special faith that enables them to do what otherwise they could not do ( Romans 12:3;  Romans 12:6;  1 Corinthians 12:9; see Gifts Of The Spirit ).

Charles Buck Theological Dictionary [7]

Is that assent which we give to a proposition advanced by another, the truth of which we do not immediately perceive from our own reason and experience; or it is a judgment or assent of the mind, the motive whereof is not any intrinsic evidence, but the authority or testimony of some other who reveals or relates it. The Greek word, translated faith, comes from the verb, to persuade; the nature of faith being a persuasion and assent of the mind, arising from testimony or evidence.

1. Divine faith, is that founded on the authority of God, or it is that assent which we give to what is revealed by God. The objects of this, therefore, are matters of revelation.  1 John 5:9 .

2. Human faith, is that whereby we believe what is told us by men. The objects hereof are matters of human testimony or evidence.

3. Historical faith, is that whereby we assent to the truths of revelation as a kind of certain and infallible record,  James 2:17 , or to any fact recorded in history.

4. The faith of miracles, is the persuasion a person has of his being able, by the divine power, to effect a miracle on another,  Matthew 17:20 .  1 Corinthians 13:2 . or another on himself,  Acts 14:9 . This obtained chiefly in the time of Christ and his apostles.

5. A temporary faith, is an assent to evangelical truths, as both interesting and desirable, but not farther than they are accompanied with temporal advantages; and which is lost when such advantages diminish or are removed,  Matthew 11:24 .  Luke 8:13 .

6. Faith in respect to futurity, is a moral principle, implying such a conviction of the reality and importance of a future state, as is sufficient to regulate the temper and conduct.

7. Faith in Christ, or saving faith is that principle wrought in the heart by the Divine Spirit, whereby we are persuaded that Christ is the Messiah; and possess such a desire and expectation of the blessings he has promised in his Gospel, as engages the mind to fix its dependence on him, and subject itself to him in all the ways of holy obedience, and relying solely on his grace for everlasting life.

These are the ideas which are generally annexed to the definition of saving faith; but, accurately speaking, faith is an act of the understanding, giving credit to the testimony of the Gospel; and desire, expectation, confidence, &c. are rather the effects of it, than faith itself, though inseparably connected with it. Much has been said as to the order or place in which faith stands in the Christian system, some placing it before, others after repentance. Perhaps the following remarks on the subject may be considered as consistent with truth and Scripture:

1. Regeneration is the work of God enlightening the mind, and changing the heart, and in order of time precedes faith.—

2. Faith is the consequence of regeneration, and implies the perception of an object. It discerns the evil of sin, the holiness of God, gives credence to the testimony of God in his word, and seems to precede repentance, since we cannot repent of that of which we have no clear perception, or no concern about.—

3. Repentance is an after-thought, or sorrowing for sin, the evil nature of which faith perceives, and which immediately follows faith.—

4. Conversion is a turning from sin, which faith sees, and repentance sorrows for, and seems to follow, and to be the end of all the rest.

As to the properties or adjuncts of faith, we may observe,

1. That it is the first and principal grace: it stands first in order, and takes the precedence of other graces,  Mark 16:16 .  Hebrews 11:6 .—

2. It is every way precious and valuable,  1 Peter 2:1 .—

3. It is called in Scripture, one faith; for though there are several sorts of faith, there is but one special or saving faith,  Ephesians 4:5

4. It is also denominated common faith; common to all the regenerate,  Titus 1:4 .—

5. It is true, real, and unfeigned,  Acts 8:37 .  Romans 10:10 .—

6. It cannot be finally lost as to the grace of it,  Philippians 1:6 .  Luke 22:32 .—

7. It is progressive,  Luke 17:5 .  2 Thessalonians 1:3 .—

8. It appropriates and realizes, or, as the apostle says, is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen,  Hebrews 11:1 .

The evidence or effects of faith, are,

1. Love to Christ,  1 Peter 1:8 .  Galatians 5:6 .—

2. Confidence,  Ephesians 3:1-21

3. Joy,  Romans 5:11 .  Philippians 1:25 .—

4. Prayer,  Hebrews 4:16 .—

5. Attention to his ordinances, and profit by them,  Hebrews 4:2 .—

6. Zeal in the promotion of his glory,  1 Corinthians 15:58 .  Galatians 6:9 .—

7. Holiness of heart and life,  Matthew 7:20 .  1 John 2:3 .  Acts 15:9 .  James 2:18;  James 2:20;  James 2:22 .

See articles Assurance and Justification, In This Work; and Polhill on Precious Faith; Lambert's Sermons, ser. 13. 14, &c.; Scott's Nature and Warrant of Faith; Romaine's Life, Walk, and Triumph of Faith; Rotherham's Ess. on Faith; Dove's Letters on Faith; A. Hall. on the Faith and Influence of the Gospel; Goodwin's Works, vol. 4:

Easton's Bible Dictionary [8]

 Philippians 1:27 2 2:13

Faith is the result of teaching ( Romans 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 ( Romans 3:22,25;  Galatians 2:16;  Philippians 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 Corinthians 2:14;  2 co  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 co  4:6;  Ephesians 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;  Romans 6:4-10;  Ephesians 4:15,16 , etc.); "peace with God" ( Romans 5:1 ); and sanctification ( Acts 26:18;  Galatians 5:6;  Acts 15:9 ).

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

The faith=the gospel ( Acts 6:7;  Romans 1:5;  Galatians 1:23;  1 Timothy 3:9;  Jude 1:3 ).

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [9]

 Hebrews 11:1, "the substance of things hoped for (i.e., it substantiates God's promises, the fulfillment of which we hope, it makes them present realities), the evidence ( Elengchos , the 'convincing proof' or 'demonstration') of things not seen." Faith accepts the truths revealed on the testimony of God (not merely on their intrinsic reasonableness), that testimony being to us given in Holy Scripture. Where sight is, there faith ceases ( John 20:29;  1 Peter 1:8). We are justified (i.e. counted just before God) judicially by God ( Romans 8:33), meritoriously by Christ ( Isaiah 53:11;  Romans 5:19), mediately or instrumentally by faith ( Romans 5:1), evidentially by works. Loving trust.  James 2:14-26, "though a man say he hath faith, and have not works, can (such a) faith save him?" the emphasis is on "say," it will be a mere saying, and can no more save the soul than saying to a "naked and destitute brother, be warmed and filled" would warm and fill him.

"Yea, a man (holding right views) may say, Thou hast faith and I have works, show (exhibit to) me (if thou canst, but it is impossible) thy (alleged) faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works." Abraham believed, and was justified before God on the ground of believing ( Genesis 15:6). Forty years afterward, when God did" tempt," i.e. put him to the test, his justification was demonstrated before the world by his offering Isaac (Genesis 22). "As the body apart from ( Chooris ) the spirit is dead, so faith without the works (which ought to evidence it) is dead also." We might have expected faith to answer to the spirit, works to the body. As James reverses this, he must mean by "faith" here the FORM of faith, by "works" the working reality. Living faith does not derive its life from works, as the body does from its animating spirit.

But faith, apart from the spirit of faith, which is LOVE (whose evidence is works), is dead, as the body is dead without the spirit; thus James exactly agrees with Paul,  1 Corinthians 13:2, "though I have all faith ... and have not charity (love), I am nothing." In its barest primary form, faith is simply crediting or accepting God's testimony ( 1 John 5:9-13). Not to credit it is to make God a "liar"! a consequence which unbelievers may well start back from. The necessary consequence of crediting God'S Testimony ( Pisteuoo Τheoo ) is believing in ( Pisteuoo Eis Ton Huion , i.e. "trusting in") the Son of God; for He, and salvation in Him alone, form the grand subject of God's testimony. The Holy Spirit alone enables any man to accept God's testimony and accept Jesus Christ, as his divine Savior, and so to "have the witness in himself" ( 1 Corinthians 12:3). Faith is receptive of God's gratuitous gift of eternal life in Christ.

Faith is also an obedience to God's command to believe ( 1 John 3:23); from whence it is called the "obedience of faith" ( Romans 1:5;  Romans 16:26;  Acts 6:7), the highest obedience, without which works seemingly good are disobediences to God ( Hebrews 11:6). Faith justifies not by its own merit, but by the merit of Him in whom we believe ( Romans 4:3;  Galatians 3:6). Faith makes the interchange, whereby our sin is imputed to Him and His righteousness is imputed to us ( 2 Corinthians 5:19;  2 Corinthians 5:21;  Jeremiah 23:6;  1 Corinthians 1:30). "Such are we in the sight of God the Father, as is the very Son of God Himself" (Hooker) ( 2 Peter 1:1;  Romans 3:22;  Romans 4:6;  Romans 10:4;  Isaiah 42:21;  Isaiah 45:21-24;  Isaiah 45:25).

King James Dictionary [10]

FAITH, n. L. fides, fido, to trust Gr. to persuade, to draw towards any thing, to conciliate to believe, to obey. In the Greek Lexicon of Hederic it is said, the primitive signification of the verb is to bind and draw or lead, as signifies a rope or cable. But this remark is a little incorrect. The sense of the verb, from which that of rope and binding is derived, is to strain, to draw, and thus to bind or make fast. A rope or cable is that which makes fast. Heb.

1. Belief the assent of the mind to the truth of what is declared by another, resting on his authority and veracity, without other evidence the judgment that what another states or testifies is the truth. I have strong faith or no faith in the testimony of a witness, or in what a historian narrates. 2. The assent of the mind to the truth of a proposition advanced by another belief, or probable evidence of any kind. 3. In theology, the assent of the mind or understanding to the truth of what God has revealed. Simple belief of the scriptures, of the being and perfections of God, and of the existence, character and doctrines of Christ, founded on the testimony of the sacred writers, is called historical or speculative faith a faith little distinguished from the belief of the existence and achievements of Alexander or of Cesar. 4. Evangelical, justifying, or saving faith, is the assent of the mind to the truth of divine revelation, on the authority of God's testimony, accompanied with a cordial assent of the will or approbation of the heart an entire confidence or trust in God's character and declarations, and in the character and doctrines of Christ, with an unreserved surrender of the will to his guidance, and dependence on his merits for salvation. In other words, that firm belief of God's testimony, and of the truth of the gospel, which influences the will, and leads to an entire reliance on Christ for salvation.

Being justified by faith.  Romans 5 .

Without faith it is impossible to please God.  Hebrews 11 .

For we walk by faith, and not by sight.  2 Corinthians 5 .

With the heart man believeth to righteousness.  Romans 10 .

The faith of the gospel is that emotion of the mind, which is called trust or confidence, exercised towards the moral character of God, and particularly of the Savior.

Faith is an affectionate practical confidence in the testimony of God.

Faith is an affectionate practical confidence in the testimony of God.

Faith is a firm, cordial belief in the veracity of God, in all the declarations of his word or a full and affectionate confidence in the certainty of those things which God has declared, and because he has declared them.

5. The object of belief a doctrine or system of doctrines believed a system of revealed truths received by christians.

They heard only, that he who persecuted us in times past, now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed.  Galatians 1 .

6. The promises of God, or his truth and faithfulness.

shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?  Romans 3 .

7. An open profession of gospel truth.

Your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.  Romans 1 .

8. A persuasion or belief of the lawfulness of things indifferent.

Hast thou faith? Have it to thyself before God.  Romans 14 .

9. Faithfulness fidelity a strict adherence to duty and fulfillment of promises.

Her failing, while her faith to me remains, I would conceal.

Children in whom is no faith.  Deuteronomy 32 .

10. Word or honor pledged promise given fidelity. He violated his plighted faith.

For you alone I broke my faith with injured Palamon.

11. Sincerity honesty veracity faithfulness. We ought in good faith, to fulfill all our engagements. 12. Credibility or truth. Unusual.

The faith of the foregoing narrative.

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [11]

This is the great and momentous word in Scripture, which hath given rise to endless disputes, and employed the minds of men in all ages to explain; and yet to thousands still remains as obscure as ever. But notwithstanding: all that the bewildered and erroneous mind of man may say on faith, the scriptural account of faith is the simplest and plainest thing in the world. Faith is no more than the sincere and hearty assent and consent of the mind to the belief of the being and promises of God, as especially revealed to the church in the person and redemption, work of the Lord Jesus Christ. JEHOVAH, in his threefold character of person, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, hath mercifully been pleased to reveal himself as "forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin," and giving eternal life to the church in Christ Jesus. And these blessings are all declared to be in the person, and procured to the church by the sole undertaking of the Lord Jesus Christ, as the glorious Head of his body the church, the fulness of him "that filleth all in all."

The hearty, cordial, and sincere belief in these blessed truths of God is called faith, because it is giving credit to the testimony of God, and relying upon his faithfulness for the fulfilment of them. The apostle John, in his first Epistle, fifth chapter, and ninth and following verses, puts this doctrine in so clear a point of view, that, under divine teaching, if attended to, it would be impossible to mistake it. "If we receive (saith John) the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself. He that believeth not God, hath made him a liar, because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record that God hath given to us, eternal life; and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son, hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God, hath not life."

No form of words could have been more happily chosen to state what is the act of faith, and to put it in a clear and full light. Immense and unspeakable blessings are promised by God. It is not the greatness of the blessings which demands our faith, but the greatness of the Being promising. Indeed, the greater the blessings are, the greater would be the difficulty of believing, unless some other warrant and authority become the foundation for belief. The bottom, therefore, of all faith is, that what we are called upon to is that cannot lie; JEHOVAH that will not lie. An Almighty Promiser that never can out-promise himself. Hence, when Moses at the bush desired a confirmation of the truth, the Lord gave him to deliver to Israel, by knowing his name, and having such assurances to make to them as might silence every doubt. "Behold," (said he,) "when I come to the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you, and they shall say unto me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM That I Am" That is, I AM a being self-existing, and eternal; and which, therefore, gives a being to all my promises. So that this is the sure ground of faith. Not the greatness and blessedness of the promise; but the greatness, blessedness, and faithfulness of the Promiser. And to believe in the almighty Promiser in his assurances in Christ, is faith. I only add, however, under this article, that though faith is the simplest and plainest act of the mind, yet both the possession and the exercise of it is the gift of God. "Unto you," (saith an apostle,) "it is given to believe." ( Philippians 1:29) And hence every truly awakened and regenerated believer finds daily reason, to cry out, as the apostle did to Christ, "Lord, increase our faith!" ( Luke 17:5)

Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words [12]

1: Πίστις (Strong'S #4102 — Noun Feminine — pistis — pis'-tis )

primarily, "firm persuasion," a conviction based upon hearing (akin to peitho, "to persuade"), is used in the NT always of "faith in God or Christ, or things spiritual."

 Romans 3:25  1—Corinthians 2:5 15:14,17 2—Corinthians 1:24 Galatians 3:23  Philippians 1:25 2:17 1—Thessalonians 3:2 2—Thessalonians 1:3 3:2 Matthew 23:23 Romans 3:3 Galatians 5:22  Titus 2:10 Acts 6:7 14:22 Galatians 1:23 3:25  Galatians 3:23 Galatians 6:10 Philippians 1:27 1—Thessalonians 3:10 Jude 1:3,20  2—Thessalonians 3:2 Acts 17:31  1—Timothy 5:12 2—Thessalonians 2:11,12 John 1:12 2—Corinthians 5:7 Romans 4:17,20,21AssuranceBeliefFaithfulnessFidelity. Hebrews 10:23 Acts 6:8  Romans 3:3Unbelief.  Romans 3:25 Galatians 3:23 Galatians 3:22

Morrish Bible Dictionary [13]

πίστις.This is a kindred word to 'believe,' and indeed the two cannot be separated. In the O.T. the word 'faith' occurs but twice.  Deuteronomy 32:20;  Habakkuk 2:4 . The words are emun, emunah  ; but aman is often translated 'to believe.' The first time this occurs in the O.T. is when it is said of Abraham that "he believed in the Lord, and he counted it to him for righteousness."   Genesis 15:6 . This is referred to in  Romans 6 where the faith of the believer is counted for righteousness, and the conclusion is drawn that if any believe on Him that raised up Jesus the Lord from the dead, righteousness will be reckoned to them.

This may be called saving faith. It is confidence in God founded on His word; it is believing in a person, as Abraham believed God . "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life."  John 3:36 . There is no virtue or merit in the faith itself; but it links the soul with the infinite God. Faith is indeed the gift of God.  Ephesians 2:8 . Salvation is on the principle of faith in contrast to works under the law.   Romans 10:9 . But true faith is manifested by good works. If a man says he has faith, it is reasonable to say to him, "Show me thy faith" by thy works.   James 2:14-26 . Otherwise, if the faith does not manifest itself, it is described as 'dead,' and is altogether different from real, active belief. A mental assent to what is stated, as a mere matter of history, is not faith. A natural man can believe such things: "the devils also believe and tremble," but true faith gives joy and peace.

There is also the power and action of faith in the Christian's walk: "we walk by faith; not by sight."  2 Corinthians 5:7 . We see such faith exemplified in the lives of the Old Testament saints, as given in  Hebrews 11 . The Lord had often to rebuke His disciples for their want of faith in their daily walk. The believer should have faith in the living God concerning all the details of his daily life.

THE FAITHis at times referred to in the sense of 'the truth;' that which has been recorded, and which the Christian has believed, to the saving of his soul. For this the Christian should contend earnestly; for it is fundamental; and many false prophets are gone into the world, and have even crept into association with the saints unawares.  Jude 3 .

People's Dictionary of the Bible [14]

Faith.  Hebrews 11:7. Faith is distinguished from credulity in that it does not accept anything as true which is not based on sufficient evidence; it is contrasted with unbelief in that it accepts whatever is proposed to it when the testimony thereof is adequate. Faith may be dead, if it be merely in the understanding, admitting facts as true, but not realizing their bearing upon ourselves. Such a faith is that historical faith, which credits the narrative of our Lord's passion and death, but seeks not, through them, remission of personal guilt. The faith of devils goes farther than this; for they "believe and tremble,"  James 2:19; but they find no means of release from their apprehended doom. True "faith is the substance (or realizing) of things hoped for, the evidence (or sure persuasion) of things not seen."  Hebrews 11:1. With such a faith "Abraham believed God; and it was counted unto him for righteousness."  Genesis 15:6;  Romans 4:3;  Galatians 3:6. So those who believe in Christ, accepting his offered mercy, relying on his never-forfeited word, are for his sake regarded as God's children. Hence men are said to be "justified by faith."  Romans 3:23-26;  Romans 6:1. Faith, if genuine, will work by love,  Galatians 6:6, yielding the fruits of a holy life and conversation.  Matthew 7:20;  James 2:26. There are various shades of meaning belonging to the word "faith" in Scripture; sometimes it means the gospel revelation.  Acts 6:7;  Romans 10:8. The precious gift of faith and the increase thereof should be earnestly sought in humble prayer.  Luke 17:6;  Philippians 1:29.

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [15]

The assent of the understanding to any truth. Religious faith is assent to the truth of divine revelation and of the events and doctrines contained in it. This may be merely historical, without producing any effect on our lives and conversation; and it is then a dead faith, such as even the devils have. But a living or saving faith not only believes the great doctrines of religion as true, but embraces them with the heart and affections; and is thus the source of sincere obedience to the divine will, exhibited in the life and conversation. Faith in Christ is a grace wrought in the heart by the Holy Spirit, whereby we receive Christ as our Savior, our Prophet, Priest, and King, and love and obey him as such. This living faith in Christ is the means of salvation-not meritoriously, but instrumentally. Without it there can be no forgiveness of sins, and no holiness of life; and they who are justified by faith, live and walk by faith,  Mark 16:16   John 3:15,16   Acts 16:31   1 John 5:10 .

True faith is an essential grace, and a mainspring of Christian life. By it the Christian overcomes the world, the flesh, and the devil, and receives the crown of righteousness,  1 Timothy 4:7-8 . In virtue of it, worthy men of old wrought great wonders,  Hebrews 11:1-40   Acts 14:9   1 Corinthians 13:2 , being sustained by Omnipotence in doing whatever God enjoined,  Matthew 17:20   Mark 9:23   11:23-24 . In  Romans 1:8 , faith is put for the exhibition of faith, in the practice of all the duties implied in a profession of faith.

Webster's Dictionary [16]

(1): ( n.) The belief in the facts and truth of the Scriptures, with a practical love of them; especially, that confiding and affectionate belief in the person and work of Christ, which affects the character and life, and makes a man a true Christian, - called a practical, evangelical, or saving faith.

(2): ( n.) The belief in the historic truthfulness of the Scripture narrative, and the supernatural origin of its teachings, sometimes called historical and speculative faith.

(3): ( n.) That which is believed on any subject, whether in science, politics, or religion; especially (Theol.), a system of religious belief of any kind; as, the Jewish or Mohammedan faith; and especially, the system of truth taught by Christ; as, the Christian faith; also, the creed or belief of a Christian society or church.

(4): ( n.) Belief; the assent of the mind to the truth of what is declared by another, resting solely and implicitly on his authority and veracity; reliance on testimony.

(5): ( n.) Word or honor pledged; promise given; fidelity; as, he violated his faith.

(6): ( n.) Credibility or truth.

(7): ( interj.) By my faith; in truth; verily.

(8): ( n.) Fidelity to one's promises, or allegiance to duty, or to a person honored and beloved; loyalty.

(9): ( n.) The assent of the mind to the statement or proposition of another, on the ground of the manifest truth of what he utters; firm and earnest belief, on probable evidence of any kind, especially in regard to important moral truth.

Charles Spurgeon's Illustration Collection [17]

The stupendous Falls of Niagara have been spoken of in every part of the world; but while they are marvelous to hear of and wonderful as a spectacle, they have been very destructive to human life, when by accident any have been carried down the cataract. Some years ago, two men, a bargeman and a collier, were in a boat and found themselves unable to manage it, it being carried so swiftly down the current that they must both inevitably be born down and dashed to pieces. At last, however, one man was saved by floating a rope to him, which he grasped. The same instant that the rope came into his hand, a log floated by the other man. The thoughtless and confused bargeman, instead of seizing the rope, laid hold on the log. It was a fatal mistake, they were both in imminent peril, but the one was drawn to shore because he had a connection with the people on the land, whilst the other, clinging to the loose, floating log, was borne irresistibly along, and never heard of afterwards. Faith has a saving connection with Christ. Christ is on the shore, so to speak, holding the rope, and as we lay hold of it with the hand of our confidence, he pulls us to shore; but our good works having no connection with Christ are drifted along down to the gulf of fell despair. Grapple our virtues as tightly as we may, even with hooks of steel, they cannot avail us in the least degree; they are the disconnected log which has no holdfast on the heavenly shore.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [18]

(Gr. Πίστις , Lat. Fides, Jiducia) is essentially Trust. The various uses of the word (both objective and subjective) may be summed up as follows:

1. An objective body of truth: "the faith;" designated by the schoolmen as Fides Quae Creditur , the faith which is believed. So the Augsburg Confession speaks of "our holy faith and Christiasn religion." (This sense does not occur in N.T.)

2. A rule of thought, the Fides Penes Quam Creditur: so the Romanm Catholics say such a thing is "of faith" (not found in N.T.).

3. A personal quality, act, or habit of the individual man; the Fides qua creditur; the faith by which we believe. This latter is either (I) the exercise of our natural gifts (natural faith), or (II) the exercise of natural gifts under the influence of the divine Spirit with regard to divine things, and especially with regard to the person and work of Christ (the gift of God). This latter is Christian faith, and it includes two elements: (1) the spiritual apprehension of the invisible and eternal ( Hebrews 11:1), and, specifically, (2) trust in Christ as a personal Savior; and, as such, in the Christian system, it is the necessary condition of salvation. It is the instrument or means by which the redemption of Christ is appropriated, and, so far as it is man's act, it is the act of the whole man, mind, affections, and will. It is "a saving grace whereby we receive and rest upon Christ alone for salvation, as he is freely offered to us in the Gospel."

I. Natural Faith. All our knowledge presupposes faith. Insthis view Goethe said that he was a "believer in the five senses;" and Fichte, that "man apprehends all reality external to himself through faith alone, a faith that is born with him." In the article BELIEF (See Belief) (q.v.) it was shown that there is a foundation laid for the exercise of this principle in the primary laws of thought or self-consciousness in the reason, not of the individual man, but of humanity. Psychologically, "faith is the faculty of grasping evidence, with a propensity to admit it when duly presented to the mind. Just as by sensation and perception we discern certain objects through the medium of the senses, and as by reason we discover some truths, or discern them upon their simple presentation (Chalmers, Institutes of Theology, book 3, chapter 6), without any other warranty than the voice within, so also by faith we discern other truths through the means of testimony or by the voice of authority. Attempts to analyze this quality of the human mind have been often made and as often failed. But still the fact remains that, according to the original, constitution of our nature, we are able and disposed to yield to evidence in proportion to its nature and its strength (Hooker, Ecclesiastes Pol. book 2, chapter 7, § 5); to assent to testimony concerning facts not preasent and manifest; and to submit to authority in the announcement or proposition of truths independently of any internal and direct perception of them by ourselves (Van Mildert, Boyle Lect. serm. 16). In matters of common life, from childhood to old age, we continually act, and are compelled to act, upon this principle (Barrow, On the Creed, seim. in; Hare, Victory of Faith, serm. 4).

The child believes its parent or its nurse, and reposes in this belief; and under certain conditions, the man believes the records of past history, the testimony of eye-witnesses, and the affirmations of trustworthy persons capable of understanding that which they affirm. And it is not too much to say that, apart from this principle and practice of belief, man, even in the full exercise of all his other intellectual powers, would be enveloped in such a cloud of ignorance on even the most ordinary subjects, that an arrest would be laid upon all the affairs of civilized life, and there must be an end of all social harmony and order. It is by this'means that we obtain a certainty, not of sight, not of demonstration, not of direct and immediate intuition, but yet a real and efficient certainty in many matters of high practical importance concerning which we must otherwise be hopelessly ignorant and in the dark. This principle lies at the foundation of human affections and family ties, of agricultural and commercial activity, and of a large portion of our most valuable knowledge in science, and our highest attainments in art. Above all, it is thus that we obtain our knowledge of many things divine, and especially of relations subsisting between God and ourselves; an acquaintance with which, as we shall hereafter see, is of the utmost importance to us, while yet, independently of the exercise of faith, it is utterly beyond the reach of every man living" (Rogers, Reason and Faith; Riddle, Bampton Lectures, 1852, lect. 1). Faith "is that operation of the soul in which we are convinced of the existence of what is not before us, of what is not under sense or any other directly cognitive power. It is certainly a native energy of the mind, quite as much as knowledge is, or conception is, or imagination is, or feeling is. Every human being entertains, and must entertain, faith of some kind. He who would insist on always having immediate knowledge must needs go out of the world, for he is unfit for this world, and yet he believes in no other. It is in consequence of possessing the general capacity that man is enabled to entertain specific forms of faith. By a native principle he is led to believe in that of which he can have no adequate conception in the infinity of space and time, and, on evidence of his existence being presented, in the infinity of God. This enables him to rise to a faith in all those great religious verities which God has been pleased to reveal" (McCosh, Intuitions of the Mind, part 3, book 2, chapter 5; see also part 2, book 2, chapter 4).

Guizot, Med. et Etudes Morales (transl. in Journal of Sacred Literature, 12:430 sq.), has a thoughtful essay in which he distinguishes natural beliefs from faith as follows: "No one can doubt that the word faith has an especial meaning, which is not properly represented by belief, conviction, or certitude. Custom and universal opinion confirm this view. There are many simple and customary phrases in which the word faith could not be replaced by any other. Almost all languages have a specially appropriated word to express that which in English is expressed by faith, and which is essentially different from all analogous words. This word, then, corresponds to a state of the human soul; it expresses a moral fact which has rendered such a word necessary. We commonly understand by faith a certain belief of facts and dogmas religious facts and dogmas. In fact, the word has no other sense when employing it absolutely and by itself we speak of the faith. That is not, however, its unique, nor even its fundamental sense; it has one more extensive, and from which the religious sense is derived. We say, I have full faith in your words; this man has faith in himself, in his power, etc. This employment of the word in civil matters, so to speak, has become more frequent in our days; it is not, however, of modern invention; nor have religious ideas ever been an exclusive sphere, out of which the notions and the word faith were without application. It is, then, proved by the testimony of language and common opinion, First, that the word faith designates a certain interior state of him who believes, and not merely a certain kind of belief. Secondly, that it is, however, to a certain species of belief religious belief that it has been at first and most generally applied. Now our natural beliefs germinate in the mind of man without the co-operation of his reflection and his will. Our scientific beliefs, on the other hand, are the fruit of voluntary study. But faith partakes of, and at the same time differs from, natural and scientific beliefs. It is, like the latter, individual and particular; like the former, it is firm, complete, active, and sovereign. Considered in itself, and independent of all comparison with this or that analogous condition, faith is the full security of the man in the possession of his belief: a possession freed as much from labor as from doubt; in the midst of which every thought of the path by which it has been reached disappears, and leaves no other sentiment but that of the natural and pre-established harmony between the human mind and truth."

II. Christian Faith. So far as faith is a voluntary act, quality, or habit of man, it is psychologically the same in the theological sense as in common life; the difference lies in the Objects of the faith. In order to venerate or love a fellow-man, we must believe in his worthiness; so, for the fear and love of God, which are fundamental elements of the Christian life, faith must pre-exist. But this direction of the soul towards God does not spring from the Natural working of the human mind; it is the gift of God ( Ephesians 2:8), and is wrought in the heart by the Holy Spirit through the word of the Gospel and the free grace of Christ ( Romans 10:17;  1 Corinthians 1:21). Fides Donum Dei Est, Per Quod Christum Redemptorem Nostrum In Verbo Evangelii Recte Agnoscimus (Form. Concord. 3:11). Not that the Holy Spirit endues the soul with any new faculty for the single purpose of receiving Gospel truth; but it quickens and directs an existing faculty, at the same time presenting to it an appropriate object. The true faith. thus excited, is an operation at once of the intellect, the heart, and the will. As said above, this faith, so far as it saves man in Christendom, is specifically trust in Christ as a personal Savior. In further treating it, we give,

(I.) The uses of the words Πίστις , Faith, and Πιστεύω , I believe, in the Scriptures (condensed from Cremer, Worterbuch D. N. Test. Gracitat, Gotha, 1866, 8vo).

'''(Ii.)''' A history of the idea of faith in Christian theology up to the Reformation.

(III.) The Protestant and Romanist doctrines of faith in contrast and comparison with each other.

(IV.) Later Protestant statements of the doctrine.

(I.) Use Of The Words Faith And Believe In Scripture. Πίστις .

1. In profane Greek, Πίστις means primarily Trust or Confidence, such as one man can have in another; more seldom Fidelity or Faithfulness which one pledges or keeps; and also the Pledge Of Fidelity, e.g. Sophocles, O.C. 1632; Δός Μου Χερὸς Σῆς Πίστιν Examples of the primary meaning (Trust or Confidence) are: Herodotus, 3:24; Sophocles, O. Colossians 950; Xen. Hier. 4:1. In the passive tense (Credit) it is found e.g. Aristotle, Eth. 10:8. Parallel with the primary meaning (Trust or Confidence) stands that of Conviction , e.g. Πίστιν Ἔχειν Τινὸς (To Have Faith In A Thing); but this conviction is based upon Trust, and not upon knowledge: so that in this sense Πιστεύων stands opposite to Εἰδώς , and Πίστις to Ἐτιστήμη (comp. Plat. Repub. 10:601). In this sense Πίστις is used (in the sphere of religion) of belief in the gods, and of acknowledgment of them, not based upon knowledge (comp. Plutarch, Mor. 756, B; Plato, Legg. 976, C, D; Eurip. Med. 413, 414). Rather characteristic is the fact that this faith is not designated as in the N.T. by the verb Πιστεύειν , but by Νομίζειν (Xen. Mem. I, 1:1).

This element of "acknowledgment," as distinct from knowing ( Εἰδέναι ), is found also in the N.T. significations of the word as used by Paul and others; e.g.  2 Corinthians 5:7, "For we walk by Faith ( Πίστεως ), not by sight;"  Hebrews 11:27, "By faith (Πίστει ) he forsook Egypt;"  Hebrews 11:1, "Now Faith ( Πίστις ) is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen;"  Romans 4:18, "Who against hope Believed ( Ἑπίστευσεν ) in hope;"  John 20:29, "Blessed (are) they that have not seen and (yet) have Believed" ( Πιστεύσαντες ). But this opposition to "knowledge" or " sight" is not essential to the idea of faith, as is seen from  John 4:42;  John 11:45;  1 Timothy 4:3;  Philemon 1:6, Et Al. In fact, the N.T. faith differs from the profane Πίστις generally in that it is not a conviction held without reference to any ground or authority (compare  1 Peter 3:15;  1 Peter 1:21).

In the O.T. the word "faith" is comparatively seldom used; the relation of mian to God and to his revelation is generally designated bysome other term befitting the economy of the law, e.g. "doing God's will," "keeping the commandments," "remembering the Lord" ( Exodus 3:15), et al. Nevertheless, we do find (as one species of phrases among many to express this relation) terms denoting "trusting," "hoping," "waiting on the Lord" בטח , חסה , קַוָּה , Ἐλπίζειν , Πεποιθέναι , Υπομένειν etc.). But in some of the Most Important passages of the Old Test. history the word "faith" occurs; e.g. with regard to Abraham ( Genesis 15:6), "he Believed in the Lord, and he counted it to him for righteousness;" of the people of Israel ( Exodus 4:31; compare 1, 5, 8;  Exodus 14:31); with regard to the possession of Canaan ( Deuteronomy 9:23; comp.  Deuteronomy 1:32;  Psalms 78:22;  Psalms 78:32;  Psalms 106:24); with regard to the covenant of the law ( Exodus 19:9). In view of these pregnant passages, we may say that the foundation laid for the N.T. in the Old is laid in "faith" (comp.  2 Chronicles 20:20;  Isaiah 53:1;  Isaiah 7:9;  Isaiah 28:16;  Jonah 3:5). But unbelief is far oftener spoken of in the O.T. than faith (comp.  Psalms 27:13;  2 Kings 17:14;  Psalms 78:22;  Psalms 78:32;  Psalms 106:24;  Numbers 20:12;  Deuteronomy 9:23;  Isaiah 7:9;  Isaiah 53:1;  Numbers 14:11;  Psalms 106:12;  Psalms 119:66). The verb used in all these passages הֶאֵַמין Hiph. of אמן , To Fasten, Build To Make Firm. From the last of these significations follows that of to Support, to rely upon, to Trust ( Job 39:11-12;  Job 4:18;  Job 15:15); holding a thing for certain and reliable ( 1 Kings 10:7;  2 Chronicles 9:6;  Lamentations 4:12;  Jeremiah 40:14;  Deuteronomy 28:66;  Job 24:22). Used with relation to God, it denotes a cleaving to him, resting upon his strength, sure confidence in God, which gives fixedness and stability ( 2 Chronicles 20:20;  Isaiah 7:9).

But there is apparently no corresponding noun to the verb האמין . For אמֵוּנָה corresponds to the partic. in Kal and Niphal, נֶאֶמָן אָמוּן and denotes steadfastness, stability (as an objective quality; e.g.  Isaiah 33:6). In other passages it denotes the personal quality of fidelity, faithfulness (but not of holding fast by faith), e.g.  1 Chronicles 2:22;  2 Chronicles 31:18 (sense wrong in English version);  2 Kings 22:7;  Jeremiah 7:28. In these passages, where the word refers to man, the Sept. translates it Πίστις ; but where it refers to God it makes it Ἀλήθεια , e.g.  Psalms 33:4. Here it may be remarked that the reference to this אמונה (faithfulness of God) eby Paul ( Romans 3:2 sq.) helps us to fix his idea of faith as definitively Trust. As a designation of the religious relation of man to God, אמונה , Πίστις is only seldom used in the O.T. (see  1 Samuel 26:23;  Jeremiah 5:3). In these passages it denotes not simply Candor, Honesty, but rather faithfulness, i.e., Faithfulness To The Covenant (comp.  Jeremiah 5:3 with  Jeremiah 1:5, and  Matthew 23:23). But, after all, we have not yet found our idea of faith. But  Habakkuk 2:4 affords a passage in which is decidedly to be found the Pauline idea: יַחְיֶה וְעִרּיק בֶּאמֵוּנָתוֹ (Sept. Δὲ Δίκαιος Ἐκ Πίστεως Μου Ζήσεται Apparently this passage was not understood by the Sept., which changed the suffix, of the third person to that of the first, and referred it to the faithfulness and the reliability of God. But אמוּנה stands here with regard to the relation in which the just man, compared with the haughty Chaldsean; holds himself to the divine promises; and it refers, therefore, not tio the relation itself, but to the quality of the relation, as the Talmudic הֵימָנוּתָא הֵימָנוּ denotes the Confiding Faith (compare Levy Chald. Wdrterbuch). Paul, in citing  Habakkuk 2:4, changes the order of the words from that in the Sept. to Δὲ Δίκαιος Ἐκ Πίστεως Ζήσεται ( Romans 1:17; comp. Delitzsch, Habakkuk pages 50-53 Keil, Kleine Proph. in loc.). So, then, we find laid in the O.T. the ground for the N.T. doctrine of faith as Complete Confidence, Trust; and this, too, combined with a conviction amounting to a recognition of the invisible (compare  Hebrews 11:1).

Conviction combined with trust, as opposed to doubt, so far as the intellect is concerned, and as opposed to fear, so far as the heart is concerned these appear, so far, to be the essential elements of faith (comp.  Matthew 21:21;  James 1:6;  Hebrews 10:39;  Mark 4:40;  Hebrews 6:12;  Revelation 13:10).

2. We find Πίστις seemingly used, especially in the Synoptical Gospels, with regard to the relation of individuals to the Lord, to designate Special Acts of confidence ( Matthew 8:10;  Matthew 9:2;  Matthew 9:22;  Luke 7:9;  Luke 7:50;  Luke 8:48;  Luke 17:19;  Luke 18:42;  Mark 5:34;  Mark 10:52; comp.  Matthew 15:28). But the Synoptists also use the word to denote (not simply special and single exertions of belief, but also) full trust in Christ, and in the divine revels tion in him ( Luke 18:8; comp.  Matthew 8:10;  Luke 8:25;  Mark 4:40;  Luke 22:32;  Luke 17:5;  Matthew 17:20;  Matthew 21:21). Compared with this (and Paul points out the contrast emphatically), the O.T. revelation was an education for faith ( Galatians 3:23-26 : "But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus;" comp.  Romans 11:32;  Acts 17:31). But it is to be fully understood also that the epistle to the Hebrews makes faith the means of holding to the God of revelation, in the sphere of the entire econesay of redemption in the O.T. as well as the N.T. (Hebrews 11). In the Acts faith seems to be used as more particularly characteristic of the sphere of the N.T. revelation ( Acts 6:7; compare  Romans 1:5;  Romans 16:26;  Acts 13:8;  Acts 17:31;  Galatians 1:23). In Paul's epistles, while the O.T. faith is clearly recognized (e.g. with reference to Abraham, and the citation of  Habakkuk 2:4), nevertheless the prevailing O.T. Unbelief is especially emphasized (e.g.  Romans 11:32); and the contrast between law and gospel ( Galatians 3:12 sq.) brings out clearly the chief element of N.T. faith as unconditional trust.

The promise, as the correlate of the Gospel, is the N.T. element of the O.T. economy, and demands faith ( Galatians 3:22; compare  Galatians 4:21 sq.), but the absence of a Σπέρμα Ω῏ / Ἐπήγγελται (seed to whom the promise was made,  Galatians 3:19) made necessary the interposition of the law; not a Νόμος Πίστιως (law of faith), but Ἔργων (of works), which, by manifesting sin, was an educator into faith ( Romans 3:19;  Galatians 3:22-23). This throws light upon the contrast of Πίστις and Ἔργα - Χάρις and Ὀφείλημα - or Πίστις and Νόμος ( Galatians 3:23; also  Romans 3:27-28; comp.  Romans 4:2;  Romans 4:5;  Romans 9:32;  Galatians 2:16;  Galatians 3:2;  Galatians 3:5; comp.  Galatians 3:12;  Ephesians 2:8; and in contrast to Νόμος ,  Romans 4:13-14;  Romans 4:16;  Romans 9:30;  Galatians 3:11-12;  Galatians 3:23-25). This contrast, it will be observed, is only introduced by Paul in passages in which he is expressly pointing out the difference between the O.T. economy of salvation and that of the N.T.

3. The following classification of the passages in which the waord Πίστις occurs will be found useful:

(1.) It is used With Reference To An Object,  Hebrews 6:1;  1 Thessalonians 1:8;  Mark 11:22;  2 Thessalonians 2:13;  Colossians 2:12;  Philippians 1:27;  Acts 24:24;  Acts 26:18;  Colossians 2:5;  Acts 20:21; comp.  Philemon 1:5;  2 Timothy 3:13;  Galatians 3:26;  Ephesians 1:15;  2 Timothy 3:15;  Romans 3:25; with the obj.- genit.,  Romans 3:22;  Galatians 2:16;  Galatians 3:22;  Ephesians 3:12;  Philippians 3:9;  Galatians 2:20;  Acts 3:16;  James 2:1;  Revelation 2:13;  Revelation 14:12; with  Titus 1:1, compare  Revelation 17:14.

(2.) Without Nearer Definition, simply as Faith, which adheres with full, conviction and confidence to the N.T. revelation of salvation, and makes this its foundation (support). Here is especially of importance the expression ( Acts 3:16), The Faith Which Is By Him, an expression which is used to point out the salvation arising from the mediation of Christ, through the Looking Unto Jesus, the author of faith ( Hebrews 12:2). Under this class, besides the passages of the Synoptical Gospels already referred to, we mention  Acts 14:22;  Acts 16:5;  Colossians 1:23;  1 Peter 5:9;  Romans 14:1;  Romans 4:19-20;  1 Corinthians 16:13;  Romans 11:20;  2 Corinthians 1:24;  2 Corinthians 13:5;  1 Timothy 2:15;  2 Timothy 4:7;  2 Corinthians 8:7;  2 Corinthians 10:15;  2 Thessalonians 1:3;  Colossians 2:7;  1 Timothy 1:19;  James 2:1;  James 2:14;  James 2:18;  Titus 1:13;  Titus 2:2;  2 Corinthians 5:7;  Romans 1:17;  Galatians 3:11;  Hebrews 10:38 (comp.  Galatians 2:20);  Acts 13:8;  2 Timothy 2:18;  1 Timothy 1:19;  1 Timothy 4:1;  1 Timothy 5:8;  1 Timothy 5:12;  1 Timothy 6:10;  1 Timothy 6:21;  2 Timothy 3:8. Then the Pauline expressions Ἐκ Πίστεως Εῖναι , Οἱ Ἐκ Π (they which are Of Faith;  Galatians 3:7;  Galatians 3:9;  Galatians 3:12;  Galatians 3:22;  Romans 4:16;  Romans 3:26; comp.  Hebrews 10:39), Ἐσμἐν Πίστεως (we are of them that Believe), are used of faith proper (compare  Romans 14:22-23). The phrases Ἐκ Πίστεως Δικαιοῦν , Δικαιοῦσθαι , make faith the necessary condition of justification ( Romans 3:30; comp.  Galatians 3:14;  Romans 5:1;  Galatians 2:16;  Galatians 3:8;  Romans 4:13; Ἐκ Πίοτεως ,  Romans 9:30;  Romans 10:6;  Philippians 3:9; comp.  Romans 1:17;  Romans 4:5;  Romans 4:9). The word Πιστις is found joined to Ἀγάπη ,  Ephesians 6:23;  1 Thessalonians 3:6;  1 Thessalonians 5:8;  1 Timothy 1:14;  1 Timothy 4:12;  1 Timothy 6:11;  2 Timothy 1:5;  2 Timothy 1:13;  2 Timothy 2:22;  Galatians 5:6;  1 Corinthians 13:13;  Revelation 2:19; with Ἐλπίς , Ὑπομονή ,  1 Corinthians 13:13;  2 Thessalonians 1:4;  Revelation 13:10. The word is also found  Acts 6:5;  Acts 6:8;  Acts 11:24;  Acts 14:27;  Acts 15:9;  Romans 1:8;  Romans 1:12;  Romans 3:31;  Romans 4:12;  Romans 5:2;  Romans 10:8;  Romans 10:17;  Romans 12:6;  1 Corinthians 2:5;  1 Corinthians 15:14;  1 Corinthians 15:17;  2 Corinthians 1:24;  2 Corinthians 4:13;  Galatians 5:5;  Galatians 5:22;  Galatians 6:10;  Ephesians 3:17;  Ephesians 5:5;  Ephesians 5:13;  Ephesians 6:16;  Philippians 1:25, 7:7;  Colossians 1:4;  1 Thessalonians 1:3;  1 Thessalonians 3:2;  1 Thessalonians 3:5;  1 Thessalonians 3:7;  1 Thessalonians 3:10;  2 Thessalonians 2:2;  1 Timothy 1:2;  1 Timothy 1:4;  1 Timothy 2:7;  1 Timothy 3:9;  1 Timothy 4:6;  1 Timothy 6:12;  2 Timothy 1:5;  2 Timothy 3:10;  Titus 1:1;  Titus 1:4;  Titus 3:15.  Philemon 1:6;  Hebrews 10:22;  Hebrews 13:7;  James 1:3;  James 1:6;  James 2:5;  James 2:14;  James 2:17-18;  James 2:20;  James 2:22;  James 2:24;  James 2:26;  James 5:15;  1 Peter 1:5;  1 Peter 1:7;  1 Peter 1:9;  1 Peter 1:21;  2 Peter 1:1;  2 Peter 1:5;  Judges 1:3;  Judges 1:20.

That even in James, confidence, trust (and not mere recognition), is the essential element of faith, is manifest from the passage ( James 5:15), Εὀχὴ Τῆς Πίστεως Σώσει Τὸν Κάμνοντα (the Prayer Of Faith shall save the sick). The Works Of Faith are, according to James, such as show forth faith, and without which faith sinks into a mere recognition ( James 2:19), as dead faith ( Νεκρά ).

It must be noted that the word Πίστις occurs in John's epistles only in one place,  1 John 5:4, and in his Apocalypse in four places ( Revelation 2:13;  Revelation 2:19;  Revelation 13:10;  Revelation 14:12).

There remain a few passages in which Πίστις apparently does not denote "trust" in salvation by Christ, as  Romans 12:3 (comp. Alford, In Loc., and also  Acts 17:31).  1 Corinthians 13:2 is easily explained by comparison with  Matthew 21:21;  Luke 17:5-6, and here will be best joined  1 Corinthians 12:9. In the signification Faithfulness, Πίστις , like the O.T. אמֵוּנָה , is spoken of God,  Romans 3:3; of men,  Matthew 23:23;  Titus 2:10. With the former passage compare  Isaiah 5:1 sq. Πιστεύω General Meaning: A. to Trust, to Depend Upon, Τινὶ e.g. Ταῖς Σπονδαῖς Θεῶν Θεσφάτοις , Polyb. 5:62, 6; Sophocl. Philoct. 1360; Demosth. Philippians 2:67, 9. With the dative of the person and the acc. of the thing, Π . Τινί Τι = to intrust (confide) something to a person,  Luke 16:11;  John 2:24; in the passive, Πιστεύομαί Τι , I am trusted with a thing; without obj.: I am trusted,  Romans 3:2;  1 Corinthians 9:17;  Galatians 2:7;  1 Thessalonians 2:4;  2 Thessalonians 1:10;  1 Timothy 1:11;  Titus 1:3. B. Very frequently Πιστεύειν Τινὶ denotes to Trust A Person, to Give Credence To, to Accept Statements (to be convinced of their truth); Soph. El. 886, Τῷ Λόγῳ . In a broader sense, Πιστεύειν Τινί Τι , to Believe A Person; e.g. Eur. Hec. 710, Λόγοις Ἐμοῖσι Πίστευσον Τάδε ; Xen. Apol. 15. Then Πιστεύειν Τι , to Believe A Thing, To Rec. Ognise It (as true); e.g. Plat. Gorg. 524, A, Ἐγὼ Ἀκηκοὼς Πιστεύω Ἀληθῆ Εϊ v Ναι ; Aristot. Analyt. Proverbs 2, 23; also Πιστεύειν Περὶ , Υ̓πέρ Τινος , Plut. Lye. 19, where Πιστεύειν stands alone, to Be Inclined To Believe, Recognize a thing; while e.g. in  John 9:18, the specific aim is added: "But the Jews did not believe concerning him that he had been blind, and received his sight."

In the N.T. (in which Πιστεύειν has regard to our conduct towards God and his revelation) all these constructions are found, as well as the combinations (unusual in the profane Greek) of Πεἰς , Ἐπί Τινα , Ἐπὶ Τινι and also Πιστεύειν standing alone. The question is whether the original signification is Confidence, or Accepting As True.

(1.) We find Πιστεύειν in the signification to Believe, to Takefor True, and hence to Be Convinced, to Recognize (Accept);

(a) With The Acc. Following,  John 11:26, Πιστεύεις Τοῦτο ; comp.  John 11:25-26;  1 John 4:16;  Acts 13:41;  1 Corinthians 11:18;  1 Timothy 3:16 (comp.  Matthew 24:23;  Matthew 24:26;  Luke 22:67);  John 10:25;

(b) With The Infinitive After It,  Acts 15:11( Πιστεύομεν Σωθῆναι );

(c) With Or After It,  Matthew 9:28;  Mark 11:23-24;  Acts 9:26;  James 2:19, Σὺ Πιστεύεις Ὅτι Εϊ v '''''Σ''''' '''''Ὁ''''' Θεός Ἐστιν ; compare  Acts 27:25;  John 4:21, Πίστευέ Μοι , Ὅτι Ἔρχεταιώρα This construction of Πιστεύειν Ὄτι is especially frequent in the writings of John, in St. Paul's meaning of it. It. is also used by Paul in  Romans 6:8;  1 Thessalonians 4:14; but in  Romans 10:9, Ἐὰν Πιστεύσῃς Ἐν Τῇ Καρδίᾷ Σου Ὅτι Θεὸς Αὐτὸν Ἤγειρεν Ἐκ Νεκρῶν , Σωθήση , the sense of Trust predominates over that of Takingfor True. Compare also  Hebrews 11:6, with  Hebrews 11:1;  Hebrews 4:3.

In John this construction with Ὄτι is found in chapters  John 4:21;  John 8:24;  John 10:38;  John 11:27 (compare  John 6:69);  John 11:42 (compare  John 17:3);  John 13:19;  John 14:10-11;  John 16:27; (and have Believed that I came out from God),  John 16:30;  John 17:8;  John 17:21;  John 20:31;  1 John 5:1;  1 John 5:5 (comp. with  1 John 5:10). In these passages the sense of Πιστεύω is that of Assent, Belief, Recognition, Conviction Of Truth. This meaning is also predominant in the following passage:  John 3:12 (If I have told you earthly things, and ye Believe not, how shall ye Believe if I tell you of heavenly things) (comp.  John 3:11). Note also the connection with Γινώσκειν (To Know),  John 6:69

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [19]

fāth  :

1. Etymology

2. Meaning: A D ivergency

3. Faith in the Sense of Creed

4. A L eading Passage Explained

5. Remarks

6. Conclusion

In the Old Testament (the King James Version) the word occurs only twice:  Deuteronomy 32:20 ( אמוּן , 'ēmūn );  Habakkuk 2:4 ( אמוּנה , 'ĕmūnāh ). 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 πιστις , pistis , with one exception in the King James Version (not the Revised Version (British and American)),  Hebrews 10:23 , where it represents ἐλπίς , elpı́s , "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 D ivergency

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  Galatians 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,  Romans 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 ( Matthew 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  James 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   James 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  Deuteronomy 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 L eading Passage Explained

It is important to notice that  Hebrews 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 koinē , 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.

The Nuttall Encyclopedia [20]

In its proper spiritual sense and meaning is a deep-rooted belief affecting the whole life, that the visible universe in every section of it, particularly here and now, rests on and is the manifestation of an eternal and an unchangeable Unseen Power, whose name is Good, or God.