What is the definition of faith? Faith, in its most basic form, is an unwavering conviction in something despite the absence of empirical evidence. It goes beyond rationality and enters the realm of the heart and soul.
Faith can manifest itself in different ways, ranging from a religious faith that centers on the worship of a divine being to a secular faith in principles like justice, love, and equality. But what is the meaning of faith in the Bible?
According to God’s Word, it is impossible to please God without faith. The Bible’s closest definition of the word “faith” can be found in Hebrews 11:1, which states that “faith is the conviction of things not seen, the assurance of things hoped for.” This definition of faith means having confidence in things we believe are real, despite not having seen them with our own eyes.
What Is Faith?
Why is faith significant in our lives? In a world filled with uncertainties, faith stands as a guiding light that provides individuals with a sense of purpose, hope, and direction.
At its core, faith is a deeply ingrained belief or trust in something, often intangible, that guides our actions, thoughts, and emotions. It serves as a foundation upon which individuals build their worldviews and make sense of the world around them. Whether it’s faith in a higher power, faith in oneself, or faith in humanity’s potential, this concept has multifaceted dimensions that warrant exploration.
The Bible contains a clear definition of faith in Hebrews 11:1: “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” What do we hope for? We pray that God is dependable and keeps His word. Through the Holy Spirit, we can be sure that we will receive God’s saving faith, promises of salvation, everlasting life, and bodily resurrection.
The second portion of this definition is also significant: “God is unseen.” We are unable to see heaven for ourselves. We do not know what eternal life looks like in its physicality, which begins with our salvation here on earth, but our faith in God assures us of these things. Again, we rely on the unquestionable integrity of God’s character rather than on empirical, scientific evidence.
God’s inability to lie is one of the things the Bible teaches us about Him. He has unblemished honesty; therefore, we can believe Him when He says something is accurate about the Bible because of who God is. The Bible has many obscure passages, but Christians accept them because they believe in a reliable God.
Faith can be strengthened by spending more time in prayer and studying God’s Word, the Bible. In everything, Paul advised the Philippians to “pray and petition, with thanksgiving, letting your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6–7).
The believers in the Church of God in Philippi accepted and followed God’s Word. Their faith (confidence and trust) grew as they listened to and followed Paul’s advice to give their worries to God in believing prayer.
Because it is how we communicate with God, faith is crucial: “For by grace you have been saved through faith” (Ephesians 2:8). We profit from what Jesus Christ has done for us because of our faith. He led us into perfect obedience to God, paid the price for our sinful disobedience against Him, and then triumphed over sin, death, and the devil by rising from the grave. We gain forgiveness for our sins and the gift of eternal life by placing our confidence in Him.
What Is The Biblical Definition Of Faith?
How does the Bible define faith? The biblical definition of faith goes beyond mere belief; it encompasses trust, conviction, and a deep connection to the divine.
The Greek word for “faith” that appears most frequently in the New Testament is pistis. It conveys a conviction or belief along with the supplementary notion of trust. Biblical faith is more than an academic position; it is a conviction that motivates action.
As James 2:26 says, “Faith apart from works is dead, just as the body is without the spirit.” James talks about showing his faith through his deeds. Frequently, our actions speak louder about our beliefs than our words do.
However, the biblical definition of faith distinguishes it from works. While work is essential, it doesn’t earn salvation. Instead, faith is the channel through which God’s grace is received (Ephesians 2:8–9). It’s a gift from God, not a human achievement.
In the New Testament, we learn what it means to do the “work of God.” When a crowd of people followed Jesus because of his miracles, they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent” (John 6:28–29).
We are reminded in Romans 12:3: “Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.” The focus of biblical faith is on God and His promises. In Romans 3:3–4 of the King James version of the Bible, it is implied that the “faith” of God means his fidelity to his promises.
The meeting between Abraham and God is a striking illustration of biblical faith. In response to God’s promise of countless descendants, Abraham “believed the Lord, and he counted it to Him as righteousness” (Genesis 15:6). The Apostle Paul writes, “No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised” (Romans 4:20–21).
The Apostle Paul comments on this by saying, “No unbelief made him waver regarding the promise of God, but he became strong in his faith as he offered honor to God, completely sure that God could perform what he had promised” (Romans 4:20–21). Faith is placing your trust in God and believing He will keep His word.
Genuine biblical faith manifests itself in everyday life. According to James, “faith without works is dead” (James 2:17). Love is the mechanism by which faith produces observable signs of its presence in a person’s life (Galatians 5:6). In other words, obedience that pleases God is motivated by faith rather than simply out of a sense of duty or responsibility.
Where Does Faith Come From?
The biblical definition of faith reveals that central to Christianity is faith in Jesus Christ as the Savior. Believers trust in His sacrificial death and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and eternal life. The faith God requires of us for salvation is belief in what the Bible says about who Jesus is.
This saving faith leads to a transformed life as we follow Christ’s teachings. “Saving faith” is thus named the way it is because it has eternal life inseparably connected with it.
Jesus Christ is credited as being the founder of our faith in Hebrews 12. In 2 Peter 1:1, we read, “To those who have been given confidence in our God and Savior, Jesus Christ, it is as priceless as our own.” Faith in Jesus is a gift given to us. It is a gift from God to us. All who accept God’s grace will also receive the faith required to believe in Him.
Studying God’s Word is how faith is learned. Until the end, Jesus’ committed followers are to spread the word of God to everyone. The worth of the relationship increases as you read the Bible and grasp who Christ is and what it means to believe in Him. Put all your faith in the Lord, and don’t rely on your knowledge. Recognize Him in your actions, and He will clear your path (Proverbs 3:5–6).
Jesus becomes more valuable and precious to you and your life as you get to know Him better. As you get to know Him better, your faith in Him develops because He gives it to you through His word.
Example In The New Testament
Two blind men approached Jesus and pleaded for His healing in Matthew 9:27–30, which illustrates this term. Jesus initially asked them, “Do you believe I can do this?” He touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith, let it be to you,” and they responded, “Yes, Lord.” Then their eyes were opened.
The substance or actuality they longed for was their faith and confidence in Jesus’ ability to grant them sight. Additionally, it provided them with proof or belief that they would be granted what they wanted. They had faith that it would happen because they felt, deep down, that it would.
Example In The Old Testament
Another illustration is of the three friends of Daniel who would not submit to King Nebuchadnezzar’s golden picture. Threats of tossing people alive into a raging pit if they did not bow to the image were made.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, three young Jewish men who refrained from bowing before the statue, spoke to King Nebuchadnezzar and said, “If that is the case, then the God we worship can save us from the blazing fire, and, O King, He will also rescue us from your hands. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not worship the gold statue you have erected or serve your gods (Daniel 3:17–18).”
They had no idea how God would rescue them from the burning furnace, whether it was immediately by sparing their lives or at the resurrection. Their trust or faith served as the foundation for their hopes and served as proof of things that they had not yet seen or received.
Indeed, by following God, we look forward to a world beyond this one called the kingdom of God, where we will dwell in harmony with Him forever. Faith is the belief that God exists and He is real.
How Do We Obtain Faith?
You believe that God is one, and you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!— James 2:19
There are several layers to the Christian faith. From a small amount of trust to faith that can move mountains, the Bible mentions varying degrees of belief. Like an actual muscle, faith strengthens as it is fed and exercised. By reflecting on God’s Word, we should maintain our faith.
The core of faith is agreement with the truth, and the ultimate ground on which our assent to any revealed truth rests is the truthfulness of God.
We should practice it by responding to everything by following God’s Word. This encompasses how we deal with issues, fears, and concerns. God wants His children to put all their trust in Him and not worry about anything. Dead faith is when one believes in God but does not obey his commandments.
Just one example of how we might practice our Christian faith and the Christian life is by not worrying. God’s promise of salvation and peace allows us to remain unwavering in our faith, as even the demons tremble in his powerful name.
We might better understand how hearing the gospel of Christ made us realize how precious He is by reflecting on our personal experience of how we came to know and receive Jesus in our lives. The Lord is and should be the source of our faith, not ourselves. And in our case, the gospel of Christ is how we first encountered faith. We received faith in the word of Christ that was spoken to us. This is how God first gave us this priceless faith.
3 Key Bible Verses About Faith
Be aware that a person is justified by faith in Jesus Christ, not by the deeds of the law. In order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by keeping the law, we have also placed our faith in Him. This is because no one can be justified by following the law.— Galatians 2:16
You believe in Him and are thrilled with an indescribable and wonderful delight because you are getting the fruit of your faith, the salvation of your souls, even though you have not seen Him.— 1 Peter 1:8–9
Is anyone ill among you? They should invite the church’s elders to pray for them and anoint them with oil in the Lord’s name. And the sick person will recover thanks to the prayer offered in faith; the Lord will exalt them. They will be pardoned if they have sinned.— James 5:14–15
The Bible is an inspired word from God. Faith means putting your trust in God and having confidence that he will fulfill his promises. Genuinely believing in God is not the same as living out your beliefs. True faith can be seen in one’s devotion to and submission to God.
It might be challenging to look past the struggles of this life. We don’t always sense God’s presence or comprehend his instructions. Finding God requires confidence, as does keeping our gaze fixed on him. If we earnestly ask God to do so and strive to get closer to Him through prayer and reading his Word, he will strengthen our faith.