Looking at a Biblical Definition of the Word “Faith”

Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on Think Apologetics. Tabernacle of David considers this resource trustworthy and Biblically sound.


Image may contain: possible text that says 'Christians do not use FAITH in order to discover knowledge. Rather, faith is their RESPONSE TMINCTES to knowledge they'v ve already obtained by some other means. GREG KOUKL'

Anyone who has been engaged in talking to people in our culture about the Christian worldview knows that many people misunderstand the word “faith.” I could go ahead and blame the media, pop culture, and the university for this widespread problem. But the reality is that it is incumbent upon pastors, apologists, and ministry leaders to teach and instruct Christians about the proper definition of the word “faith.” Yes, many Christians don’t know how to explain the word “faith.”

Some theologians and apologists have suggested that it might be a good idea to substitute the word “trust” in place of the word “faith.” This has some merit to it. Joseph Thayer says the following:

“To believe” means to think to be true; to be persuaded of; to credit, [to] place confidence in. [And in] a moral and religious reference, pisteuein [from pisteuo] is used in the N.T. of a conviction and trust to which a man is impelled by a certain inner and higher prerogative and law of his soul. “ (Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, 511).

Here is a nice online resource: Tekina says the following:

Dictionary: faith, belief, firm persuasion, 2 Cor. 5:7; Heb. 11:1; assurance, firm conviction, Rom. 14:23; ground of belief, guarantee, assurance, Acts 17:31; good faith, honesty, integrity, Mt. 23:23; Gal. 5:22; Tit. 2:10; faithfulness, truthfulness, Rom. 3:3; in NT faith in God and Christ, Mt. 8:10; Acts 3:16, et al. freq.; ἡ πιστις, the matter of Gospel faith, Acts 6:7; Jude 3

Here is another definition:


“These terms refer to the value of reliability. The value is ascribed to persons as well as to objects and qualities. Relative to persons, faith is reliability in interpersonal relations: it thus takes on the value of enduring personal loyalty, of personal faithfulness. The nouns ‘faith’, ‘belief’, ‘fidelity’, ‘faithfulness,’ as well as the verbs ‘to have faith’ and ‘to believe,’ refers to the social glue that binds one person to another. This bond is the social, externally manifested, emotionally rooted behavior of loyalty, commitment, and solidarity. As a social bond, it works with the value of (personal and group) attachment (translated ‘love’) and the value of (personal and group) allegiance or trust (translated ‘hope.’) p. 72 Pilch and Malina Handbook of Biblical Social Values.

NOTE: See Inspiring Philosophy’s clip here called “Is Faith Blind?” 

Also, see our post called Why Do So Many People Misunderstand the Word “Faith”

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