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
This post will consider Apistos, ἄπιστος
ἄπιστος ápistos, ap’-is-tos; from G1 (as a negative particle) and G4103; (actively) disbelieving, i.e. without Christian faith (specially, a heathen); (passively) untrustworthy (person), or incredible (thing):—that believeth not, faithless, incredible thing, infidel, unbeliever(-ing).
This is the root word discussed earlier, with the prefix of “a” attached. Having this prefix, negates the word, or in other words, creates the opposite of the term.
Consider a man who calls himself a theist – one who believes in God. Place an “a” in front of this term and you find Richard Dawkins. (an athiest).
The first time I find this word is in Matthew 17
And Jesus answered, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me.”
Often this term is used of the religious men and women living when the Messiah walked among us. It isn’t clear, at least for me, whether the faithless generation Jesus is upset about is the multitudes in verse 14 or the disciples in verse 16. (I’m leaning its the disciples – gulp!) No matter – the point is that no faith was evident, Jesus was upset and it is the disciples that could not heal the lunatic.
I find it instructive that if Jesus was referring to the disciples, and I think He was, right after the rebuke, the disciples came to Him, asking of thier failure.
They were teachable – He was of the nature that He could rebuke and still find in His disciples a willingness to come to Him. Maybe the disciples were extremely humble (really Carl?) or maybe, just maybe, the disciples understood the grace He lived that any hurtful truth did not negate His deep love for His followers – They knew He spoke truth, and that He was full of grace – Who else could they go to?
Do not be faithless!
Exercise the gift of faith that resides in you and trust in the only One who truly deserves your love and life. Consider the gospel of the grace of God – the sacrifice of His only Son and that while we were enemies of both the Son and the Father!
Do not reject love!
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