The Concept of “Faith”

Faith is the assured expectation of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. – Heb 11:1

In the Old Testament

Emunah (530) – certainty, faithfulness (1Sam. 26:23), But generally, the Person to whom one is “faithful” is the Lord [Yahweh] himself, 2 Chron. 19:9.  The Lord has manifested His “faithfulness” to His people, 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,” 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, Prov. 28:20.

Man’s acts, Prov. 12:22, and speech, 12:17, must 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”, Jer. 5:1, Isa. 59:4, Jer. 7:28, 9:3.  Hosea portrays God’s relation to Israel as a marriage and states God’s promise of “faithfulness” to Israel (where several Hebrew words describe faithfulness), Hos. 2:19-20.

In the New Testament

Pistis (4102) – 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.” The word is used of:

– trust, e.g., Ro. 3:25; 1Co. 2:5; 15:14,17; 2Co. 1:24; Ga. 3:23

– trust-worthiness, e.g., Mt. 23:23; Ro. 3:3, Ga. 5:22; Tit. 2:10, “fidelity”

– by metonymy, what is believed, the contents of belief, the “faith,” Ac. 6:7; 14:22; Ga. 1:23; 3:25; Ga. 6:10; Php. 1:27; 1Th. 3:10; Jude. 1:3,20

– a ground for “faith,” an assurance, Ac. 17:31

– a pledge of fidelity, plighted “faith,” 1Ti. 5:12.

The main elements in “faith” in its relation to the invisible God, as distinct from “faith” in man, are especially brought out in the use of this noun and the corresponding verb, pisteuo; they are (1) a firm conviction, producing a full acknowledgement of God’s revelation or truth, e.g., 2Th. 2:11,12; (2) a personal surrender to Him, Joh. 1:12; (3) a conduct inspired by such surrender, 2Co. 5:7.


Extracted from Vine’s Concise Dictionary.

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