Faith

Discussion in 'Sacred Scripture' started by Rexlion, Jul 8, 2022.

  1. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    That is an interesting point I never noticed! I see now that the manuscripts have a variation between them. The difference lies in whether a manuscript used a word that we translate as "it" (the object of which is "faith") or a different word that we translate as "they" (the object of which is the disobedient Israelites in the wilderness).

    Taking it the former way, they did not respond in faith to the things they heard. Or, taking it the latter way, they did not respond in faith like those who listened (Caleb and Joshua). Either way is fine. There is a very minor peril, though, in that the latter way ("they") has been translated by some Bible versions such that it could be taken to build up a doctrine of "corporate" faith, and this verse is not meant to make that suggestion. How do we know that? Well, we know it because the "corporate" body was comprised of those who did not believe; only Joshua, Caleb and Moses believed God and were ready to enter the Promised Land (God's rest for the Israelites) right then. The purpose behind thiis passage is to make a 'compare and contrast' picture in order to exhort the reader to trust God and not "harden the heart" (v. 7) against His promises.
     
  2. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    A minor correction of a typo: Deut. 32:20 should read, "They are a very froward generation..." (meaning: stubbornly contrary and disobedient; obstinate)

    Interesting info from that very old dictionary. It contained several usages of the word "faith" from various sources, although I think we should confine the discussion to the usages and meanings found in the N.T., or this thread might wind up bursting at its seams before long. :laugh:
     
  3. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I still think the dictionary is relevant to us, because we are unfortunately locked in to our time and place, into our language that is alien to the scriptures. It takes a lot of effort to conceive of our familiar word having a different meaning from what we’re used to. We want to interpret the Bible using words/definitions that are familiar to us. Instead, we may have to interpret our language using the words/definitions used before modern times (ie. In the Bible, etc).

    Change our language, interpret our language, rather than change/interpret the Bible. Now there’s a brain twist.

    We may have to force ourselves to interpret a word using an uncomfortable definition; if it happens to be the true one.

    For example, what if the original Hebrew/Greek scriptures meant to say something closer to #3,

    Faith is an entire dependence upon the truth, the power, the justice, and the mercy of God; which dependence will certainly incline us to obey him in all things.

    While we in late-modernity keep assuming it means #1,

    Belief of the revealed truths of religion.
     
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  4. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Now, let's look at some scriptures and expose a couple of issues.

    Eph 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

    There is some uncertainty among Bible scholars concerning the interpretation of this verse. The pronoun "it" theoretically could have been meant to apply to any of the preceding: grace, faith, or perhaps even saved (salvation). All three are in the same (feminine) tense, so that doesn't help. Proper English usage would apply the pronoun to the most recently-stated noun (in this sentence, "faith"), but since the original writing was Greek we can't be absolutely positive this was the original intent. A significant chunk of the Protestant world seems to teach that "it" should apply to "grace," and they base this on an isolated view of Romans 10:17: So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. But this minimizes almost to extinction the concept that faith initially comes from God; as Romans 12:3 states: For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

    Since this latter verse verifies that faith is from God, Eph. 2:8-9 can be interpreted harmoniously with the assumption that "it" (the gift of God) applies to faith (actually we can safely say that all three are gifts from God: faith, grace, and salvation!).

    Now to the problems. There are Christian groups that over-emphasize the truth of Romans 10:17 and under-emphasize the truth of Romans 12:3; and there are groups that do the exact opposite (over-emphasize 12:3 and under-emphasize 10:17). What do I mean?

    First, there are the Word of Faith folks. They focus so much on "faith comes by hearing" that they treat the concept of "faith is a gift from God" as being practically irrelevant. Their focus is on "building faith" in themselves and others. They quote Psalm 1:1-3 and they say, "If we read and meditate on the word of God enough, the truths will cause our faith to grow stronger!" There is a kernel of wisdom in that, but the big problem is their selfish motivation; most of those folks read the Bible and think on it for the purpose of personally receiving more health, more worldly goods, and more 'blessings from God.' But there is a flip side to their emphasis on the verse, "faith comes by hearing," though: Word of Faith churches are sending more missionaries worldwide than (AFAIK) any other group, because they take seriously the need for causing faith for salvation to rise up in the hearts of all people. Thus, the word of God is getting spread really fast, but so is the WoF teaching! It's like they're serving up the nourishing bread of life topped with a load of sweet, tooth-decaying frosting.

    Second, there are us folks in the catholic & orthodox camps. We focus so much on "faith comes from God" and so little on "faith comes by hearing" that we send hardly any missionaries. We hardly ever witness or share our faith. We're complacent. We don't take the Great Commission as seriously as we should, neither personally nor corporately. So we're letting these other groups win the lost (which is good) and catechize them poorly (which is bad).

    Our understanding of the scriptures I've cited in this post must be properly balanced. The scriptures are like fences on either side of a narrow, proper path that all Christians should stay on. Any time one group or another gets past one fence or another, they can wind up in a ditch. The truth is, God deposits faith in each person's spirit... He gives enough faith that they are thereby enabled to receive the Gospel message and believe it if they will; yet they cannot receive the Gospel message until they hear (or read) it, and this leads us to the great responsibility God entrusted to us of communicating His message. In the meantime, that deposit of faith lies dead or dormant in unredeemed people, waiting until we act in obedience and perhaps help coax that faith to life.

    All Christians should stay cognizant of these facts from scripture and keep them in proper balance.
     
  5. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Heb 4:2-3 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith (pistis) in them that heard it. For we which have believed (pisteuo) do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.

    Heb. 4:2-3 Youngs Literal Version
    for we also are having good news proclaimed, even as they, but the word heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard, for we do enter into the rest--we who did believe, as He said, `So I sware in My anger, If they shall enter into My rest--;' and yet the works were done from the foundation of the world,

    Heb 4:2-3. ESV
    Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened. For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said,

    “As I swore in my wrath,
    ‘They shall not enter my rest,’”

    although his works were finished from the foundation of the world.
    Heb. 4:2-3. ESV

    Heb.4:2-3. RSV (The most reliable translation in my opinion.)
    For good news came to us just as to them; but the message which they heard did not benefit them, because it did not meet with faith in the hearers. For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said,
    "As I swore in my wrath,
    They shall never enter my rest,'"
    although his works were finished from the foundation of the world.


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    Even more specifically to trust in Jesus Christ and the New Testament 'faith', and all that that entails.

    I think it's obvious that the author, writing specifically to The Hebrews was referring specifically to The Israelites who had rebelled in the wilderness, and also tangentially to Hebrews that had not yet accepted the claims of the Christian 'FAITH'. i.e. not yet believed everthing Jesus Christ taught and claimed. (that is) The Gospel.

    Corporately the writer contrasts the Judaism of rebellion, Ps. 95:7-11 with the 'faithful' servants of Christ, the 'believing' Church of the Hebrews, who had 'faith' in their forsaken and murdered Messiah. I don't think the author had in mind the 'believing' example of Joshua, Caleb and Moses except in later verses. Rather more likely he had this in mind. Deut.9:7-29. Compared to this: Heb.4:5-11
    .
     
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