What is Biblical Faith?

biblical faith

Semper Fidelis: Are you as faithful to your Lord, as these men are to theirs?

Biblical faith often seems at odds with other Christian virtues such as humility. In my last post I shared some of my thoughts on the apparent conflict between intellectual humility and faith. In response Brandi Eissinger shared an excellent link which nicely defined intellectual humility as follows:

Intellectual Humility: Having a consciousness of the limits of one’s knowledge, including a sensitivity to circumstances in which one’s native egocentrism is likely to function self-deceptively; sensitivity to bias, prejudice and limitations of one’s viewpoint. Intellectual humility depends on recognizing that one should not claim more than one actually knows. It does not imply spinelessness or submissiveness. It implies the lack of intellectual pretentiousness, boastfulness, or conceit, combined with insight into the logical foundations, or lack of such foundations, of one’s beliefs.

It is my prayer that this attitude be clear in all that I write or speak, and I invite you to please call me down as soon as any other attitude is seen rising up in me. At the same time, I invite you to allow yourself exposure to some of the difficult ideas I offer here, and pray for our Lord to show His truth to you–to help you to accept, or if need be, to refute what I share.

There remains however, our problem with the popular understanding of “faith.” The meanings of words are not pins stuck in a map. They are more like nations whose borders expand and shrink with time and are occasionally prone to migration, bifurcation, or even extinction.

This link shows an animated map of Europe over the past thousand years and makes a good analogy for the way the semantic domains of words can change over time. A problem arises when this “semantic drift” affects our understanding of God’s word. This happens because we attach special significance to words in the Bible, and then fail to change our Bibles when the meaning of those words change, because of the culture we are embedded in.This is not as serious as the problems which arise from transliterating and not translating words, such as has happened with “Christ, church, or gentile.” But can work with these problems to further obscure the simple meaning of the Bible.

Has biblical faith changed?

The English noun “faith,” and its companion verb “believe,” seem to be undergoing such a transition in our day. Ask yourself, what does biblical faith mean?

I have found that most people answer this question along the lines of “believing, no matter what; a strong belief, or belief without evidence.” Does this line up with your experience?

Pages: 1 2 3 4 | Next → | Single Page

6 thoughts on “What is Biblical Faith?

  1. It is interesting to read Hebrews 11 in light of your discussion. Verse 13 seems to nicely coincide with your thoughts.

    These all died in faith (loyalty), not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

    Years ago, the passage from verses 13-16 of this chapter helped clarify for me the importance of leaving behind my loyalty to my earthly country and putting my allegiance with the Kingdom of God.

  2. Thank you John, that is a good point that I missed. One of the signs that a new idea is on the right track is that it gives back more than you put into it. In this case we can clearly see that their confession to be strangers and pilgrims was directly the result of their “pisteuo.” “Died in faith” does not make this near a clear as; “died in loyalty” or “died being loyal…”

    I need to emphasize that this is a journey that we are on, to understand scripture. I do not claim to have arrived at the truth, only to being sincere in its pursuit. This is why I started the post with the definition of intellectual humility.

    Again, thank you for sharing you insight. I hope others will follow you example.

  3. Pingback: October Blog Challenge: Faithfulness | Christian Bloggers

  4. Excellent, Chris! I couldn’t agree more–the new testament understanding of faith is concerned with allegiance/loyalty, not mere mental assent.

    For some time, I’ve been intrigued with John 2:23-24, where many had faith in Jesus’ name, but He did not commit Himself, or have faith in them, because He knew all. Not only is this an interesting addition to your question “Does God Have Faith in Us?” it also serves as a commentary on popular understandings of “faith” today–many will profess “belief” but without allegiance.

    Authentic faith is always . . . faithful. It’s that simple. May He find us faithful!

  5. Thank you Helos, and James. Please pray for me, my loyalty/faith is going to be tested this morning. While I think I am willing, I really don’t want it to cost me a job that I have been praying for. I will update this evening.

Please join the conversation...