As mentioned in my introduction to faith post, I was in Sunday School class a while back and had the opportunity to discuss Christian maturity with the teacher, and as you may have guessed, we wandered off into the subject of faith.
He had told me there are a number of Greek words in the New Testament that are translated “faith” in our English Bible, and I let him know I thought otherwise.
So I came home and did a quick study, using Blue Letter Bible web site. The following table gives a summary of the New Testament Greek words used when describing our English word “faith”.
|New Testament (Greek) for “faith”
||that believe not, unbelieving, faithless, unbeliever, infidel, thing incredible, which believe not
||of little faith
||faith, assurance, believe, belief, them that believe, fidelity
||faithful, believe, believing, true, faithfully, believer, sure not tr
||littleness of faith
I’m glad he challenged me to look it up and I think we were both sort of correct.
The root word found in each of the above greek words is pistos/pistis, and when checked in that web site I like (see above), both are derived from the Greek word “peíthō”.
πείθω peíthō, pi’-tho; a primary verb; to convince (by argument, true or false); by analogy, to pacify or conciliate (by other fair means); reflexively or passively, to assent (to evidence or authority), to rely (by inward certainty):—agree, assure, believe, have confidence, be (wax) conflent, make friend, obey, persuade, trust, yield.
For future posts, I would like to explore the concept of faith, and each of the terms found in the table above. But for now, I would like to consider the root word peíthō.
In the Strongs Concordance definition above I have italicized a number of words that are synonyms for the root word Peíthō.
Consider the following shade of the Greek word Peíthō.
A long time ago, when I was studying the concept of confession, I tripped over the following verse.
For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess both.
I confess that the word “confess” is not based on the root word we are considering, but the idea of agreement is. The Pharisees confess the resurrection, and of spirits and angels. Did they believe in the Messiah? That is not the point in this passage. The point is that they had mental assent to the teaching, agreed with others, and stood firm on the truthfulness of the resurrection and of spirits. (The point of the passage is that Paul used the Pharisee’s agreement to the resurrection in order to distract his enemies from his case – What a guy!)
It is easy to see the idea of “agree” within the root word for faith.
How can I trust or believe, obey or yield to One with whom I am not in agreement.
As Christians we seek to understand His will (albeit weakly and without full knowledge at times) and in understanding His will, have to decide to agree or disagree to it.
To “Peíthō” is to agree with the One who is the object of faith.
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