What is Biblical Faith?

Faith or loyalty?

Just as the English faith/believe has many nuances and covers a vast semantic territory; so the Greek pistis/pisteuo/pistos encompasses a range of meanings. The third meaning of faith given by the dictionary is:

3. Loyalty to a person or thing; allegiance.”

When we look up loyalty on the same site we find this amazing entry:

noun: faithfulness, commitment, devotion, allegiance, reliability, fidelity, homage, patriotism, obedience, constancy, dependability, trustworthiness, steadfastness, troth (archaic), fealty, staunchness, trueness, trustiness, true-heartedness I have sworn an oath of loyalty to the monarchy.

“No man can serve two masters” Bible: St. Matthew

What I find amazing about this is the fact that this worldly site quotes a scripture that few Christians take literally in today’s society. When we look at the synonyms given above we find that few Christians in western society are willing to apply them exclusively or literally to their supposed King Jesus.

These are not usually seen as terms that relate to the Christian “faith” but rather to a “citizens” duty.

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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.

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