Faith Definition

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What does it mean to have faith? Why is it critical in the life of a Christian? Why can't it exist by itself? What are some important Bible verses about faith?

Faith, as defined in the Bible, is, "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1, HBFV). It is the strongly held conviction and proof that God not only exists but that he rewards those who seek him (verse 6). It is both a gift that must be given and a fruit of God's spirit within a person (Ephesians 2:8, Galatians 5:22).

Surprisingly, the English word faith appears only twice in the KJV Old Testament. It comes from two closely related words (Strong's Concordance #H529 and #H530) which mean faithful, trusting, or trustworthy.

In the New Testament, however, the word appears 245 times! Five instances of it (Matthew 6:30, 8:26, 14:31, 16:8 and Luke 12:28) are found within a phrase derived from a single Greek word (Strong's #G3640). This phrase, spoken by Jesus, refers to someone who lacks confidence or is trusting too little. All other occurrences come from the Greek pistis (Strong's #G4102), meaning a moral conviction or reliance on God as well as an assurance on Him.

Bible verses

The following are some of the most important Biblical quotes regarding this critical component of a believer's life.

So then, faith comes by hearing, and hearing through the Word of God (Romans 10:17, HBFV).

Now it is written, "The just shall live by faith . . . " (Hebrews 10:38, HBFV, see also Habakkuk 2:4, Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11).

For we walk by faith, not by sight (2Corinthians 5:7, HBFV).

God requires those He calls to obey him and fill their life with good works. We deceive ourselves if we think merely a belief in Him is enough to save us.

They personally profess to know God, but in their works they deny Him, being abominable and disobedient, and reprobate unto every good work (Titus 1:16, HBFV).

But are you willing to understand, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac, his own son, upon the altar? . . .

Now, in the same manner also, was not Rahab the harlot justified by works when, after receiving the messengers, she sent them out a different way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, in the same way also, faith without works is dead (James 2:20 - 21, 25 - 26, HBFV).

Our trust in God is our shield to protect us in times of trouble and temptation.

Besides all these (the armor of God), take up the shield of the faith, with which you will have the power to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one (Ephesians 6:16, HBFV).

Belief in God is one of the three most important traits of a Christian.

And now, these three remain: faith, hope and love; but the greatest of these is love (1Corinthians 13:13, HBFV).

Other important Bible verses on this subject include Matthew 8:1 - 13, Luke 7:50, Romans 4:20 - 21, 1Corinthians 13:2, Galatians 5:22, Ephesians 2:8 - 9, Philippians 3:8 - 9, 1Peter 1:5 - 9 and Hebrews 11.

Righteous linkage

The linkage between belief in God and works is undeniable. In the last Biblical appearance of faith, God commends those during the Great Tribulation who steadfastly obey him in the face of adversity.

Here is the patience of the saints; here are the ones who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus (Revelation 14:12, HBFV).

List of terms in
Dictionary of Biblical Words

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