Faith – Introduction

Faith 2

I was in Sunday School class early this morning and had the opportunity to discuss Christian maturity with the teacher. As we chatted, we wandered off into the subject of faith.

For the next few posts, I hope to delve a little into the concept of faith, and its real world applications for our lives.

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 the Blue Letter Bible web site. The following table gives a summary of the New Testament Greek words used when describing our English word “faith”.

Strongs # Greek Transliterated English Equivalent
New Testament (Greek) for “faith”
G571 ἄπιστος apistos that believe not, unbelieving, faithless, unbeliever, infidel, thing incredible, which believe not
G1680 ἐλπίς elpis hope, faith
G3640 ὀλιγόπιστος oligopistos of little faith
G4102 πίστις pistis faith, assurance, believe, belief, them that believe, fidelity
G4103 πιστός pistos faithful, believe, believing, true, faithfully, believer, sure not tr
G6066 ὀλιγοπιστία oligopistia littleness of faith

faith 4

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”.

Strong’s Definitions
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. (Boldened words will be topics for next few blogs)
As our study progresses into each of the greek terms defined above, I would like to explore the concept of faith.
For the short term, I would like to consider the root word peíthō, as it is the most interesting of the greek words above, primarily since it has been the word I have been recently studying.
Watch for my next post – I hope you will AGREE to come visit.

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Stupid Idiots – A Response

Stupid Idiots

I went to hear a brother speak a while back that advocated that Christians should be “stupid idiots”. (His words, not mine!)

To give this brother the benefit of the doubt, and to find out what the intent of the message was, I set off on a wee bit of study into Acts 4:13, his text for the day.

After my preliminary study, I decided to contact this brother, share with him what I found in my study, discuss his message and ask for any clarification. What follows is the email I received from this brother after sending my study to him.


Carl,

Your very e-mail fully supports the whole point of the message. In fact, I shared the exact terms from your e-mail in my message. The contrast seen in this passage is between Peter and John and the learned and wise religious leaders, the very people who made the comments about them. The key was that they took note that these men had been with Jesus. We need the same today accusations from the same people who are so smart and wise (like the religious of this context) against us today. So yes, the terms are beautiful, especially as people take note that we have been with Jesus, that very necessary observation that will make religious leaders take note to label us as stupid idiots. I made it clear that spending time in the Word is what enables us to be perceived this way by the religious. So the beautiful context shows what happens to followers of Christ when they speak filled with the Holy Spirit. They will be labeled stupid idiots by the religious who don’t see miracles for what they are and haven’t spent time with Jesus. We are willing to face death rather than be “wise’ about our words before people who could kill us. I don’t think you misunderstood my message at all.

Pastor Y

_____________________________________

I appreciate this brothers efforts to clarify the issue, but in my mind, the issue is still very muddy. Should Christians seek the label of “stupid idiots”?

In summary, I think the greek words might be better understood as being untrained (unlettered), and unprofessional (a layman).

These words do not say anything directly as to the intelligence or ability of the apostles, but simply the training and associations the apostles had in relation to those judging them.

(BTW – I think it is ironic that this man is a trained professional!)

What think ye?

Should Christians seek the label of “stupid idiots”?


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Stupid Idiots – A Description

Stupid Idiots

I went to hear a brother speak a while back that advocated that Christians should be “stupid idiots”. (His words, not mine!)

To give this brother the benefit of the doubt, and to find out what the intent of the message was, I set off on a wee bit of study into Acts 4:13, his text for the day.

After my preliminary study, I decided to contact this brother, share with him what I found in my study, discuss his message and ask for any clarification. What follows is the beginning of the correspondence I had with this brother.


Act 4:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.

A Description or a Command?

With all these technical definitions, it remains that this verse is an estimation of the apostles by the enemies of the gospel, and not an imperative for Christians to obey.

I wonder if telling the congregation to become “stupid idiots” based on Acts 4:13 was wise. In a society that is increasingly being “dumbed down”, I would hope that Christianity would argue against the trend. I surely do not advocate knowledge for the sake of knowledge, for

“knowledge puffeth up, but love edifieth”.

The critical motivating factor and fruit in a believers heart, mind and soul is love to the Master and our neighbor. But the great commandment does include our minds, and that presupposes the intake of (proper) knowledge.

As I was discussing the message with my daughter, I remembered that the apostle Paul described himself (and his entourage) as “fools for Christ” in 1 Cor 4:10. Could Paul have been describing himself from the Corinthians viewpoint (ironically), and not from a point of motivation for him (us) to look to.

I know you believe that the body of Christ is made up of all kinds of folk, some common (like myself) and some professionally trained in the “rabbinical” schools of today. He is big enough to use any person who will spend time with Him and be willing to grow in grace and the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I do appreciate the ability to converse with you – I look forward to your reply. I am sure I have misunderstood your intent and appreciate your time in helping me understand.

Thanks for your labors

Carl

What think ye? Should Christians seek the label of “stupid idiots”?

In our next post, we will review his response.


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Stupid Idiots – Unlearned Christians

Stupid IdiotsI went to hear a brother speak a while back that advocated that Christians should be “stupid idiots”.  (His words, not mine!)

To give this brother the benefit of the doubt, and to find out what the intent of the message was, I set off on a wee bit of study into Acts 4:13, his text for the day.

After my preliminary study, I decided to contact this brother, share with him what I found in my study, discuss his message and ask for any clarification.  What follows is the beginning of the correspondence I had with this brother.


Pastor Y

If it isn’t to much, I would like to ask for some clarification. I hope I do not come off as critical or judgmental, but I am concerned about truth and aim to be gracious in my concerns (John 1:18).

During the message today, you were exhorting us to be “stupid idiots”. Surely I am misunderstanding your intent when you say that, and I think others may have also. (At least my daughter was confused.)

I took a look at the verse(s) in Acts that you were referring to and found the following (Forgive the KJV, but I have spent too much time in it to give it up!!)

Act 4:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.

First off – unlearned (Strongs 62)

Vines states – “Unlearned (ἀγράμματοι) Or, very literally, unlettered. With special reference to Rabbinic culture, the absence of which was conspicuous in Peter’s address.”

Robertson states – “They were unlearned (agrammatoi eisin). Present indicative retained in indirect discourse. Unlettered men without technical training in the professional rabbinical schools of Hillel or Shammai. Jesus himself was so regarded (John 7:15, “not having learned letters”). ”

Clarke states – “Αγραμματοι, Persons without literature, not brought up in nor given to literary pursuits.”

ISBE states – “Unlearned un-lûr´ned: Acts 4:13 for ἀγράμματος, agrámmatos, literally “illiterate.” But nothing more than “lacking technical rabbinical instruction” seems to be meant…”

I am not sure if “stupid” and “lacking training” are synonymous. I have known many men and women, both believers and unbelievers, that are lacking in training but I would never consider stupid. (And some who have much training but….)

What think ye?

Should Christians seek the label of “stupid idiots”?


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Stupid Idiots – Introduction

Stupid IdiotsMany times I have heard that Christians are idiots, dumber than a bag of hammers, fools, brain dead… You get my point, right?

Well I went to hear a brother speak a while back that advocated that Christians should be “stupid idiots”.  (His words, not mine!)

During the message, I expected one of two things to happen

  • I would understand his underlying premise and it would finally click, that is, that I would understand the bigger message.
  • The brother would at some point, use the message to rebuke us for our intellectual weakness.

I was wrong on both points, but I clung on to the first point until after the service.  I got home and began to discuss the message with my family, and we were all confused.  It seems we all got the message that Christians should be stupid idiots.

This man is a professional communicator leading one of the larger churches in the area.  The idea that he was misunderstood by my wife, my two daughters and myself was too much for me to swallow!  How could this be?

To give this brother the benefit of the doubt, and to find out what the intent of the message was, I set off on a wee bit of study into Acts 4:13, his text for the day.

After my preliminary study, I decided to contact this brother, share with him what I found in my study, discuss his message and ask for any clarification.  What follows in my next post is the beginning of the correspondence I sent this brother.

What think ye?  Before we go on to our next post, let me know what you think.

Should Christians seek the label of “stupid idiots”?


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Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.