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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament

Faithfulness (2)

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FAITHFULNESS.—The quality of being faithful. ‘Fidelity,’ in the sense of trustworthiness, is a synonym; so also ‘loyalty,’ ‘constancy.’ The thought is not primarily of belief entertained (although that is latent); rather of right conduct which, emanating from right motive, demands and receives confidence and approval. Thus George Eliot (Span. Gipsy, v.)—

‘The deepest hunger of a faithful heart

Is faithfulness.’

The noun does not occur in the Gospels. There is, however, allusion to those in whom the quality (πιστότης) is conspicuous; they are the ‘faithful’ (πιστοί) of Matthew 24:45; Matthew 25:21; Matthew 25:23, Luke 12:42; Luke 16:10-12—where the word πιστός has the meaning of being trustworthy in the discharge of duty. It is their conduct, not their creed, to which attention is specially directed. At the same time it should be remarked that the πιστότης implied (certainly in Matthew 24:45; Matthew 25:21; Matthew 25:23, Luke 12:42) is closely bound up with an allegiance owned and recognized. It is suggestive of faith which, because genuine, compels to loyal obedience, and cannot but issue in works (‘La foi qui n’agit point, est-ce une foi sincère?’ Racine). The trusty are the trustful (cf. Lightfoot, Gal. p. 155); and it is precisely those who feel themselves able to cling to something external to themselves who are most solicitous that their lives should be spent in useful service. See Faith.

H. L. Jackson.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Faithfulness (2)'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. 1906-1918.

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