From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [1]

1. Faithfulness of God. -The apostolic writers agree with the general biblical teaching in ascribing faithfulness to God as ‘keeping covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations’ ( Deuteronomy 7:9). Two general examples may be given. (l) Among the faithful sayings in the NT letters, there is found one in  2 Timothy 2:11-13, where the writer speaks of the sufferings that he gladly endures, for ‘if we died with him, we shall also live with him … if we are faithless, he abideth faithful; for he cannot deny himself.’ God’s faith-fulness rested upon His own nature and not upon any human contingencies.

(2) The writer or Hebrews elaborated this truth when he dealt with the blessings that were to come in and through Abraham. In order that he and all believers might have greater assurance, God not only made gracious promises, but also interposed with an oath so that He might show more abundantly unto the heirs of the promise the immutability of His counsel. God’s faithfulness was assured both by promise and by oath ( Hebrews 6:13-20).

This Divine faithfulness was made by the apostles the ground of forgiveness and cleansing to those who confessed their sins ( 1 John 1:9), of deliverance in temptation from the power of evil ( 1 Corinthians 6:13,  2 Thessalonians 3:3), and of confidence in the final salvation of those who were called into the fellowship of Jesus Christ ( 1 Corinthians 1:9,  1 Thessalonians 5:24).

2. Faithfulness of Christ .-It is noteworthy that in the Apocalypse, where Christians are being encouraged to endure, the faithfulness of Christ is made prominent. Thus He is called the faithful witness ( Revelation 1:5;  Revelation 3:14), and victory is ascribed to Him who is ‘faithful and true’ ( Revelation 19:11). But it is in Hebrews again that we find this faithfulness enlarged upon. In the earlier sections of that Epistle, where the writer is comparing the work of Christ with that wrought by angels and prophets, he shows that both Moses and Christ were examples of faithfulness, but Christ excelled, insomuch as a son’s faithfulness over God’s house excels in quality that of a servant in the house. ‘He hath been counted of more glory than Moses, by so much as he that built the house hath more honour than the house’ ( Hebrews 3:1-6).

3. Faithfulness of Christians .-In the background of every Christian life the apostles placed the example of Christ and the attributes of God, and thus the faithfulness they sought to practise and instil was linked with the faithfulness of God. For this reason St. Paul repelled with heat the charge of fickleness that had been brought against him by critics in Corinth ( 2 Corinthians 1:19-22). He acknowledged that there had been an alteration in certain details of his plans, but he asserted that this was due not to any passing inconsistency in his mind, but to greater faithfulness to his unchangeable desire to help them. He had not changed his plans capriciously, saying ‘Yes’ to-day and ‘No’ tomorrow, but he had adhered to principles as un-changeable as the gospel he preached. As God was faithful to His promise, so the Apostle did not vacillate; as Christ was unchangeable, so was St. Paul. The steadfastness of St. Paul and of all Christians found its source in the Divine stablishing in Christ. This is only one example of the apostolic belief that constant faithfulness in Christian life came from faith in Christ, ‘the faithful and true,’ while apostatizing from the living God came from an evil heart of unbelief ( Hebrews 3:12).

The faithfulness urged by the apostles covered the whole of life. It must be shown by Christians in their ordinary callings. When many were inclined, in view of the near approach of the Day of the Lord, to abandon their ordinary occupations, St. Paul wrote to the Thessalonians that all must work with quietness and eat their own bread, and that none must leave their common work and live in idleness (2 Thessalonians 3). In like manner St. Paul wrote more than once that those who were called to be Christians must abide faithfully in their callings and perform their duties. Masters must put a new spirit into their oversight; slaves must become only the more diligent and faithful in their service; husbands and wives must remain faithful to their marriage vows, even when the new bond to Christ has been fashioned.

Within the Christian Church those called to any duty were required to exercise their gifts faith-fully. He who was called to be a minister of God was reminded that a steward must be found faithful ( 1 Corinthians 4:2). Each one must be faithful to the graces given by the Spirit, whether of prophecy, teaching, giving, or ruling ( Romans 12:6). St. Paul claimed that he exhibited his faithfulness in teaching when he was dealing with the ease of fathers and their unmarried daughters ( 1 Corinthians 7:25). When he was expressing his judgment on this matter he said that he had no ‘command’ (ἐπιταγήν) to convey, but he gave his settled ‘opinion’ (γυωμήν), conscious that in so doing he was faithful to his stewardship under Christ.

As apostles were expected to be faithful in their teaching, so all Christians were expected to be faithful to the teaching they had received. As some of them were in danger of being ‘carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, in craftiness, after the wiles of error’ ( Ephesians 4:14; cf.  Hebrews 13:9), they must all he on their guard to hold fast the faith of Christ, and, in spite of all anti-Christian influences, they must hold the traditions which they were taught, whether by word or by Epistle of the Apostle ( 2 Thessalonians 2:15). Indeed, in the Epistle to the Hebrews faith itself is almost identified with steadfast loyalty to the Unseen God, and thus passes into faithfulness, which marks the believer under manifold trials.

In the apostolic life faithfulness to friends, and especially to the se who were fellow-workers, was greatly prized. The first necessity for a Christian worker is that he should be, like Lydia, ‘faithful to Christ’ (πιστήν τῴ κυρίῳ,  Acts 16:15); but he should be also, like Timothy, ‘faithful in Christ’ (πιστήν τῴ κυρίῳ,  1 Corinthians 4:17), i.e. faithful in the sphere of Christian duty. This faithfulness is required to be shown not only to those for whom work is done, but also to those with whom it is done. Thus when St. Paul speaks in the Epistle to the Colossians of Tychicus his messenger as ‘the beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow-servant in the Lord’ ( Colossians 4:7), and of Onesimus as ‘the faithful and beloved brother’ ( Colossians 4:9), he has before his mind chiefly the fidelity of these two brethren to himself the apostle and prisoner of the Lord, In 2 Tim. we have represented the unfaithfulness of Demas, who had forsaken the Apostle, ‘having loved this present world’; the faithfulness of St. Luke his companion-the beloved physician, who had remained true to him to the end; and the renewed faithfulness of John Mark, who had deserted St. Paul at one time, but who in later years was a proved and faithful servant ( 2 Timothy 4:10-11).

Christian faithfulness was to be observed throughout the whole of life, and especially through the many trials and tribulations of Christian experience. In the Epistles of St. Paul we find the Apostle on no fewer than six different occasions calling upon his readers to ‘stand fast’: ‘stand fast in the faith’ (στήκετε, ‘stand firmly and faithfully,’  1 Corinthians 16:13); ‘stand fast in the liberty’ ( Galatians 5:1); ‘in one spirit’ ( Philippians 1:27); ‘in the Lord’ ( Philippians 4:1,  1 Thessalonians 3:8); ‘and hold the traditions which ye were taught’ ( 2 Thessalonians 2:15). St. Paul was urgent that believers should he faithful to the highest in all their varied experiences. In the Apocalypse we find the same, insistence. The Church at Smyrna was exhorted to be ‘faithful unto death’ ( Revelation 2:10), and the Church at Pergamum was commended for faithfulness even in the days when ‘witnessing’ for Christ became ‘martyrdom’ in the later meaning of that word ( Revelation 2:13). This extreme faithfulness was founded on faith in God and love to Christ, but it was glorified still further by the expectation of ‘receiving the promise’ ( Hebrews 10:36), of enjoying the ‘great recompense of reward’ ( Hebrews 10:35), and of being awarded ‘the crown of life’ ( Revelation 2:10). Even when faithfulness meant for apostolic Christians their resisting unto blood, they were sustained by the thought of the Master, who after enduring the Cross had entered into His joy and was set down at the right hand of the throne of God ( Hebrews 12:2).

Literature.-W. A. Butler, Sermons 2, 1st ser., 1852, p. 155; H. Bushnell, The New Life , 1860, p. 191; J. L. Jones, Faithfulness , 1890, p. 2; A. Shepherd, The Responsibility of God . 1906; W. H. G. Thomas, in Westminster Bible Conference , Mundesley, 1912, p. 143.

D. Macrae Tod.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of OT Words [2]

A. Noun.

'Ĕmûnâh ( אֱמֻנָה , Strong'S #530), “faithfulness.” This word occurs in Punic as 'ĕmûnâh (“certainty”). In the Hebrew Old Testament, the noun occurs 49 times, mainly in the Book of Psalms (22 times). The first occurrence of the word refers to Moses’ hands: “But Moses’ hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun” (Exod. 17:12).

The basic meaning of 'ĕmûnâh is “certainty” and “faithfulness.” Man may show himself “faithful” in his relations with his fellow men (1 Sam. 26:23). But generally, the Person to whom one is “faithful” is the Lord Himself: “And he charged them, saying, Thus shall ye do in the fear of the Lord, faithfully, and with a perfect heart” (2 Chron. 19:9). The Lord has manifested His “faithfulness” to His people: “He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he” (Deut. 32:4). All his works reveal his “faithfulness” (Ps. 33:4). His commandments are an expression of his “faithfulness” (Ps. 119:86); those who seek them are found on the road of “faithfulness”: “I have chosen the way of truth —& thy judgments have I laid before me” (Ps. 119:30). The Lord looks for those who seek to do His will with all their hearts. Their ways are established and His blessing rests on them: “A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent” (Prov. 28:20). The assurance of the abundance of life is in the expression quoted in the New Testament (Rom. 1:17; Gal. 3:11) from Hab. 2:4: “Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.”

The word 'ĕmûnâh is synonymous with tsedeq —(“righteousness”—cf. Isa. 11:5), with chesed —(“lovingkindness”—cf. Ps. 98:3, NASB), and with mishpat —(“justice” cf. Jer. 5:1).

The relationship between God and Israel is best described by the word hesed (“love”); but as a synonym, 'ĕmûnâh fits very well. Hosea portrays God’s relation to Israel as a marriage and states God’s promise of “faithfulness” to Israel: “And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in loving-kindness, and in mercies. I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness —and thou shalt [acknowledge] the Lord” (Hos. 2:19-20). In these verses, the words “righteousness,” “judgment” (“justice”), “loving-kindness,” “mercies,” and “faithfulness” bear out the conclusion that the synonyms for 'ĕmûnâh are covenantal terms expressive of God’s “faithfulness” and “love.” The assurance of the covenant and the promises is established by God’s nature; He is “faithful.” Man’s acts (Prov. 12:22) and speech (12:17must reflect his favored status with God. As in the marriage relationship, “faithfulness” is not optional. For the relation to be established, the two parties are required to respond to each other in “faithfulness.” Isaiah and Jeremiah condemn the people for not being “faithful” to God: “Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek in the broad places thereof, if ye can find a man, if there be any that executeth judgment, that seeketh the $; and I will pardon [this city]” (Jer. 5:1; cf. Isa. 59:4; Jer. 7:28; 9:3).

Faithfulness will be established in the messianic era (Isa. 11:5). The prophetic expectation was fulfilled in Jesus Christ, as his contemporaries witnessed in Him God’s grace (cf. checed ) and truth (cf. 'ĕmûnâh ): “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (John 1:18). It is significant that John puts these two terms side by side, even as they are found together in the Old Testament.

The Septuagint translations are: aletheia (“truthfulness; dependability; uprightness; truth; reality”) and pistos (“trustworthy; faithfulnessreliability; rest; confidence; faith”). The KJV gives these translations: “faithfulness; truth; set office; faithfully; faithful. "

B. Verb.

—'Âman ( אָמַן , Strong'S #539), “to be certain, enduring; to trust, believe.” This root is found in Akkadian, Ugaritic, and Phoenician. In the Old Testament, the word occurs fewer than 100 times. Three words are derived from this verb: 'âmen (“amen”—30 times; e.g., Ps. 106:48) ‘emet —(“true”—127 times; e.g., Isa. 38:18), and ’emunah —(“faithfulness”).

Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology [3]

In the Old Testament, God's faithfulness and covenant love are closely related ( Deuteronomy 7:9;  Psalm 25:10;  85:10 ). The most profound example of his faithfulness is the bond between God and the people of the northern kingdom of Israel. In spite of their unfaithfulness, God reminds them that he is betrothed to them in faithfulness ( Hosea 2:20 ).

The Israelites were expected to respond in faithfulness to God because he had acted faithfully to them through the covenant. David and other godly people chose to walk the faithful way—the way of truth ( Psalm 119:30 ). Just as God is both faithful and loving, those who believe in God need to exhibit faithfulness and steadfast love in their lives ( Proverbs 3:3 ).

In the New Testament, God also Acts in faithfulness: He provides for both good and evil people ( Matthew 5:45 ); he rewards those who do his good will ( Matthew 6:4,6,18 ); he provides a way out for believers in the midst of temptation ( 1 Corinthians 10:13 ); he remains faithful as he fulfills his promises ( 2 Corinthians 1:18-19 ). Paul reminds us that even when we are faithless God remains faithful because he cannot disown himself ( 2 Timothy 2:13 ). John declares that Jesus is the faithful and true witness ( Revelation 3:14 ), the Faithful and True ( Revelation 19:11 ). God remains faithful to New Testament believers, both fulfilling and promising to fulfill the promises of the Old Testament.

Christians, like the Israelites, are to respond to God in faithfulness. Trustworthy servants must prove themselves to be faithful ( 1 Corinthians 4:2 ). Epaphrus and Tychicus are identified as faithful ministers of Christ ( Colossians 1:7;  4:7 ). Paul remains faithful to God in spite of tremendous pressures ( 1 Timothy 1:12 ). Timothy is to select teachers who will exhibit faithfulness, one of the outstanding characteristics of Christians. The Spirit of God enables Christians to remain faithful to both God and other believers ( Galatians 5:22 ).

Louis Goldberg

Bibliography . G. M. Burge, EDT, pp. 402-4; M. J. Erickson, Christian Theology  ; R. E. Nixon, ZPEB, 2:479-91; J. B. Payne, The Theology of the Older Testament  ; J. B. Scott, TWOT, 1:51-53.

King James Dictionary [4]


1. Fidelity loyalty firm adherence to allegiance and duty as the faithfulness of a subject. 2. Truth veracity as the faithfulness of God. 3. Strict adherence to injunctions, and to the duties of a station as the faithfulness of servants or ministers. 4. Strict performance of promises, vows or covenants constancy in affection as the faithfulness of a husband or wife.

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [5]

An infinite attribute of Jehovah; adapted to make perfect both the confidence of those who believe his word and rely on his promises, and the despair of those who doubt his word and defy his threatenings,  Deuteronomy 28:26   Numbers 23:19   Psalm 89:33-34   Hebrews 10:23 .

Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words [6]

 Romans 3:3 Galatians 5:22Faith.

Charles Buck Theological Dictionary [7]