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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature
(Gr. πίστις, Lat. fides, Jiducia) is essentially trust. The various uses of the word (both objective and subjective) may be summed up as follows:
1. An objective body of truth: "the faith;" designated by the schoolmen as fides quae creditur, the faith which is believed. So the Augsburg Confession speaks of "our holy faith and Christiasn religion." (This sense does not occur in N.T.)
2. A rule of thought, the fides penes quam creditur: so the Romanm Catholics say such a thing is "of faith" (not found in N.T.).
3. A personal quality, act, or habit of the individual man; the fides qua creditur; the faith by which we believe. This latter is either (I) the exercise of our natural gifts (natural faith), or (II) the exercise of natural gifts under the influence of the divine Spirit with regard to divine things, and especially with regard to the person and work of Christ (the gift of God). This latter is Christian faith, and it includes two elements: (1) the spiritual apprehension of the invisible and eternal (Hebrews 11:1), and, specifically, (2) trust in Christ as a personal Savior; and, as such, in the Christian system, it is the necessary condition of salvation. It is the instrument or means by which the redemption of Christ is appropriated, and, so far as it is man's act, it is the act of the whole man, mind, affections, and will. It is "a saving grace whereby we receive and rest upon Christ alone for salvation, as he is freely offered to us in the Gospel."
I. Natural Faith. — All our knowledge presupposes faith. Insthis view Goethe said that he was a "believer in the five senses;" and Fichte, that "man apprehends all reality external to himself through faith alone, a faith that is born with him." In the article BELIEF (See BELIEF) (q.v.) it was shown that there is a foundation laid for the exercise of this principle in the primary laws of thought or self-consciousness in the reason, not of the individual man, but of humanity. Psychologically, "faith is the faculty of grasping evidence, with a propensity to admit it when duly presented to the mind. Just as by sensation and perception we discern certain objects through the medium of the senses, and as by reason we discover some truths, or discern them upon their simple presentation (Chalmers, Institutes of Theology, book 3, chapter 6), without any other warranty than the voice within, so also by faith we discern other truths through the means of testimony or by the voice of authority. Attempts to analyze this quality of the human mind have been often made and as often failed. But still the fact remains that, according to the original, constitution of our nature, we are able and disposed to yield to evidence in proportion to its nature and its strength (Hooker, Ecclesiastes Pol. book 2, chapter 7, § 5); to assent to testimony concerning facts not preasent and manifest; and to submit to authority in the announcement or proposition of truths independently of any internal and direct perception of them by ourselves (Van Mildert, Boyle Lect. serm. 16). In matters of common life, from childhood to old age, we continually act, and are compelled to act, upon this principle (Barrow, On the Creed, seim. in; Hare, Victory of Faith, serm. 4).
The child believes its parent or its nurse, and reposes in this belief; and under certain conditions, the man believes the records of past history, the testimony of eye-witnesses, and the affirmations of trustworthy persons capable of understanding that which they affirm. And it is not too much to say that, apart from this principle and practice of belief, man, even in the full exercise of all his other intellectual powers, would be enveloped in such a cloud of ignorance on even the most ordinary subjects, that an arrest would be laid upon all the affairs of civilized life, and there must be an end of all social harmony and order. It is by this'means that we obtain a certainty, not of sight, not of demonstration, not of direct and immediate intuition, but yet a real and efficient certainty in many matters of high practical importance concerning which we must otherwise be hopelessly ignorant and in the dark. This principle lies at the foundation of human affections and family ties, of agricultural and commercial activity, and of a large portion of our most valuable knowledge in science, and our highest attainments in art. Above all, it is thus that we obtain our knowledge of many things divine, and especially of relations subsisting between God and ourselves; an acquaintance with which, as we shall hereafter see, is of the utmost importance to us, while yet, independently of the exercise of faith, it is utterly beyond the reach of every man living" (Rogers, Reason and Faith; Riddle, Bampton Lectures, 1852, lect. 1). Faith "is that operation of the soul in which we are convinced of the existence of what is not before us, of what is not under sense or any other directly cognitive power. It is certainly a native energy of the mind, quite as much as knowledge is, or conception is, or imagination is, or feeling is. Every human being entertains, and must entertain, faith of some kind. He who would insist on always having immediate knowledge must needs go out of the world, for he is unfit for this world, and yet he believes in no other. It is in consequence of possessing the general capacity that man is enabled to entertain specific forms of faith. By a native principle he is led to believe in that of which he can have no adequate conception in the infinity of space and time, and, on evidence of his existence being presented, in the infinity of God. This enables him to rise to a faith in all those great religious verities which God has been pleased to reveal" (McCosh, Intuitions of the Mind, part 3, book 2, chapter 5; see also part 2, book 2, chapter 4).
Guizot, Med. et Etudes Morales (transl. in Journal of Sacred Literature, 12:430 sq.), has a thoughtful essay in which he distinguishes natural beliefs from faith as follows: "No one can doubt that the word faith has an especial meaning, which is not properly represented by belief, conviction, or certitude. Custom and universal opinion confirm this view. There are many simple and customary phrases in which the word faith could not be replaced by any other. Almost all languages have a specially appropriated word to express that which in English is expressed by faith, and which is essentially different from all analogous words. This word, then, corresponds to a state of the human soul; it expresses a moral fact which has rendered such a word necessary. We commonly understand by faith a certain belief of facts and dogmas — religious facts and dogmas. In fact, the word has no other sense when employing it absolutely and by itself — we speak of the faith. That is not, however, its unique, nor even its fundamental sense; it has one more extensive, and from which the religious sense is derived. We say, I have full faith in your words; this man has faith in himself, in his power, etc. This employment of the word in civil matters, so to speak, has become more frequent in our days; it is not, however, of modern invention; nor have religious ideas ever been an exclusive sphere, out of which the notions and the word faith were without application. It is, then, proved by the testimony of language and common opinion, First, that the word faith designates a certain interior state of him who believes, and not merely a certain kind of belief. Secondly, that it is, however, to a certain species of belief — religious belief — that it has been at first and most generally applied. Now our natural beliefs germinate in the mind of man without the co-operation of his reflection and his will. Our scientific beliefs, on the other hand, are the fruit of voluntary study. But faith partakes of, and at the same time differs from, natural and scientific beliefs. It is, like the latter, individual and particular; like the former, it is firm, complete, active, and sovereign. Considered in itself, and independent of all comparison with this or that analogous condition, faith is the full security of the man in the possession of his belief: a possession freed as much from labor as from doubt; in the midst of which every thought of the path by which it has been reached disappears, and leaves no other sentiment but that of the natural and pre-established harmony between the human mind and truth."
II. Christian Faith. — So far as faith is a voluntary act, quality, or habit of man, it is psychologically the same in the theological sense as in common life; the difference lies in the objects of the faith. In order to venerate or love a fellow-man, we must believe in his worthiness; so, for the fear and love of God, which are fundamental elements of the Christian life, faith must pre-exist. But this direction of the soul towards God does not spring from the natural working of the human mind; it is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8), and is wrought in the heart by the Holy Spirit through the word of the Gospel and the free grace of Christ (Romans 10:17; 1 Corinthians 1:21). Fides donum dei est, per quod Christum redemptorem nostrum in verbo Evangelii recte agnoscimus (Form. Concord. 3:11). Not that the Holy Spirit endues the soul with any new faculty for the single purpose of receiving Gospel truth; but it quickens and directs an existing faculty, at the same time presenting to it an appropriate object. The true faith. thus excited, is an operation at once of the intellect, the heart, and the will. As said above, this faith, so far as it saves man in Christendom, is specifically trust in Christ as a personal Savior. In further treating it, we give,
(I.) The uses of the words πίστις , faith, and πιστεύω, I believe, in the Scriptures (condensed from Cremer, Worterbuch d. N. Test. Gracitat, Gotha, 1866, 8vo).
(II.) A history of the idea of faith in Christian theology up to the Reformation.
(III.) The Protestant and Romanist doctrines of faith in contrast and comparison with each other.
(IV.) Later Protestant statements of the doctrine.
(I.) Use of the words Faith and believe in Scripture.— Πίστις .
1. In profane Greek, πίστις means primarily trust or confidence, such as one man can have in another; more seldom fidelity or faithfulness which one pledges or keeps; and also the pledge of fidelity, e.g. Sophocles, O.C. 1632; δός μου χερὸς σῆς πίστιν Examples of the primary meaning (trust or confidence) are: Herodotus, 3:24; Sophocles, O. Colossians 950; Xen. Hier. 4:1. In the passive tense (credit) it is found e.g. Aristotle, Eth. 10:8. Parallel with the primary meaning (trust or confidence) stands that of conviction, e.g. πίστιν ἔχειν τινὸς (to have faith in a thing); but this conviction is based upon trust, and not upon knowledge: so that in this sense ὁ πιστεύων stands opposite to εἰδώς, and πίστις to ἐτιστήμη (comp. Plat. Repub. 10:601). In this sense πίστις is used (in the sphere of religion) of belief in the gods, and of acknowledgment of them, not based upon knowledge (comp. Plutarch, Mor. 756, B; Plato, Legg. 976, C, D; Eurip. Med. 413, 414). Rather characteristic is the fact that this faith is not designated as in the N.T. by the verb πιστεύειν, but by νομίζειν (Xen. Mem. I, 1:1).
This element of "acknowledgment," as distinct from knowing (εἰδέναι ), is found also in the N.T. significations of the word as used by Paul and others; e.g. 2 Corinthians 5:7, "For we walk by faith (πίστεως), not by sight;" Hebrews 11:27, "By faith (πίστει) he forsook Egypt;" Hebrews 11:1, "Now faith (πίστις ) is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen;" Romans 4:18, "Who against hope believed (ἑπίστευσεν ) in hope;" John 20:29, "Blessed (are) they that have not seen and (yet) have believed" (πιστεύσαντες ). But this opposition to "knowledge" or " sight" is not essential to the idea of faith, as is seen from John 4:42; John 11:45; 1 Timothy 4:3; Philemon 1:6, et al. In fact, the N.T. faith differs from the profane πίστις generally in that it is not a conviction held without reference to any ground or authority (compare 1 Peter 3:15; 1 Peter 1:21).
In the O.T. the word "faith" is comparatively seldom used; the relation of mian to God and to his revelation is generally designated bysome other term befitting the economy of the law, e.g. "doing God's will," "keeping the commandments," "remembering the Lord" (Exodus 3:15), et al. Nevertheless, we do find (as one species of phrases among many to express this relation) terms denoting "trusting," "hoping," "waiting on the Lord" בטח, חסה, קַוָּה, ἐλπίζειν, πεποιθέναι, υπομένειν etc.). But in some of the most important passages of the Old Test. history the word "faith" occurs; e.g. with regard to Abraham (Genesis 15:6), "he believed in the Lord, and he counted it to him for righteousness;" of the people of Israel (Exodus 4:31; compare 1, 5, 8; Exodus 14:31); with regard to the possession of Canaan (Deuteronomy 9:23; comp. Deuteronomy 1:32; Psalms 78:22; Psalms 78:32; Psalms 106:24); with regard to the covenant of the law (Exodus 19:9). In view of these pregnant passages, we may say that the foundation laid for the N.T. in the Old is laid in "faith" (comp. 2 Chronicles 20:20; Isaiah 53:1; Isaiah 7:9; Isaiah 28:16; Jonah 3:5). But unbelief is far oftener spoken of in the O.T. than faith (comp. Psalms 27:13; 2 Kings 17:14; Psalms 78:22; Psalms 78:32; Psalms 106:24; Numbers 20:12; Deuteronomy 9:23; Isaiah 7:9; Isaiah 53:1; Numbers 14:11; Psalms 106:12; Psalms 119:66). The verb used in all these passages הֶאֵַמין Hiph. of אמן, to fasten, build to make firm. From the last of these significations follows that of to support, to rely upon, to trust (Job 39:11-12; Job 4:18; Job 15:15); holding a thing for certain and reliable (1 Kings 10:7; 2 Chronicles 9:6; Lamentations 4:12; Jeremiah 40:14; Deuteronomy 28:66; Job 24:22). Used with relation to God, it denotes a cleaving to him, resting upon his strength, sure confidence in God, which gives fixedness and stability (2 Chronicles 20:20; Isaiah 7:9).
But there is apparently no corresponding noun to the verb האמין . For אמֵוּנָה corresponds to the partic. in Kal and Niphal, נֶאֶמָן אָמוּן and denotes steadfastness, stability (as an objective quality; e.g. Isaiah 33:6). In other passages it denotes the personal quality of fidelity, faithfulness (but not of holding fast by faith), e.g. 1 Chronicles 2:22; 2 Chronicles 31:18 (sense wrong in English version); 2 Kings 22:7; Jeremiah 7:28. In these passages, where the word refers to man, the Sept. translates it πίστις ; but where it refers to God it makes it ἀλήθεια, e.g. Psalms 33:4. Here it may be remarked that the reference to this אמונה(faithfulness of God) eby Paul (Romans 3:2 sq.) helps us to fix his idea of faith as definitively trust. As a designation of the religious relation of man to God, אמונה, πίστις is only seldom used in the O.T. (see 1 Samuel 26:23; Jeremiah 5:3). In these passages it denotes not simply candor, honesty, but rather faithfulness, i.e., faithfulness to the covenant (comp. Jeremiah 5:3 with Jeremiah 1:5, and Matthew 23:23). But, after all, we have not yet found our idea of faith. But Habakkuk 2:4 affords a passage in which is decidedly to be found the Pauline idea: יַחְיֶה וְעִרּיק בֶּאמֵוּנָתוֹ (Sept. ὁ δὲ δίκαιος ἐκ πίστεως μου ζήσεται Apparently this passage was not understood by the Sept., which changed the suffix, of the third person to that of the first, and referred it to the faithfulness and the reliability of God. But אמוּנה stands here with regard to the relation in which the just man, compared with the haughty Chaldsean; holds himself to the divine promises; and it refers, therefore, not tio the relation itself, but to the quality of the relation, as the Talmudic הֵימָנוּתָא הֵימָנוּ denotes the confiding faith (compare Levy Chald. Wdrterbuch). Paul, in citing Habakkuk 2:4, changes the order of the words from that in the Sept. to ὁ δὲ δίκαιος ἐκ πίστεως ζήσεται (Romans 1:17; comp. Delitzsch, Habakkuk pages 50-53 Keil, Kleine Proph. in loc.). So, then, we find laid in the O.T. the ground for the N.T. doctrine of faith as complete confidence, trust; and this, too, combined with a conviction amounting to a recognition of the invisible (compare Hebrews 11:1).
Conviction combined with trust, as opposed to doubt, so far as the intellect is concerned, and as opposed to fear, so far as the heart is concerned — these appear, so far, to be the essential elements of faith (comp. Matthew 21:21; James 1:6; Hebrews 10:39; Mark 4:40; Hebrews 6:12; Revelation 13:10).
2. We find πίστις seemingly used, especially in the Synoptical Gospels, with regard to the relation of individuals to the Lord, to designate special acts of confidence (Matthew 8:10; Matthew 9:2; Matthew 9:22; Luke 7:9; Luke 7:50; Luke 8:48; Luke 17:19; Luke 18:42; Mark 5:34; Mark 10:52; comp. Matthew 15:28). But the Synoptists also use the word to denote (not simply special and single exertions of belief, but also) full trust in Christ, and in the divine revels tion in him (Luke 18:8; comp. Matthew 8:10; Luke 8:25; Mark 4:40; Luke 22:32; Luke 17:5; Matthew 17:20; Matthew 21:21). Compared with this (and Paul points out the contrast emphatically), the O.T. revelation was an education for faith (Galatians 3:23-26 : "But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus;" comp. Romans 11:32; Acts 17:31). But it is to be fully understood also that the epistle to the Hebrews makes faith the means of holding to the God of revelation, in the sphere of the entire econesay of redemption in the O.T. as well as the N.T. (Hebrews 11). In the Acts faith seems to be used as more particularly characteristic of the sphere of the N.T. revelation (Acts 6:7; compare Romans 1:5; Romans 16:26; Acts 13:8; Acts 17:31; Galatians 1:23). In Paul's epistles, while the O.T. faith is clearly recognized (e.g. with reference to Abraham, and the citation of Habakkuk 2:4), nevertheless the prevailing O.T. unbelief is especially emphasized (e.g. Romans 11:32); and the contrast between law and gospel (Galatians 3:12 sq.) brings out clearly the chief element of N.T. faith as unconditional trust.
The promise, as the correlate of the Gospel, is the N.T. element of the O.T. economy, and demands faith (Galatians 3:22; compare Galatians 4:21 sq.), but the absence of a σπέρμα ω῏ / ἐπήγγελται (seed to whom the promise was made, Galatians 3:19) made necessary the interposition of the law; not a νόμος πίστιως (law of faith), but ἔργων (of works), which, by manifesting sin, was an educator into faith (Romans 3:19; Galatians 3:22-23). This throws light upon the contrast of πίστις and ἔργα - χάρις and ὀφείλημα - or πίστις and νόμος (Galatians 3:23; also Romans 3:27-28; comp. Romans 4:2; Romans 4:5; Romans 9:32; Galatians 2:16; Galatians 3:2; Galatians 3:5; comp. Galatians 3:12; Ephesians 2:8; and in contrast to νόμος, Romans 4:13-14; Romans 4:16; Romans 9:30; Galatians 3:11-12; Galatians 3:23-25). This contrast, it will be observed, is only introduced by Paul in passages in which he is expressly pointing out the difference between the O.T. economy of salvation and that of the N.T.
3. The following classification of the passages in which the waord πίστις occurs will be found useful:
(1.) It is used with reference to an object, Hebrews 6:1; 1 Thessalonians 1:8; Mark 11:22; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; Colossians 2:12; Philippians 1:27; Acts 24:24; Acts 26:18; Colossians 2:5; Acts 20:21; comp. Philemon 1:5; 2 Timothy 3:13; Galatians 3:26; Ephesians 1:15; 2 Timothy 3:15; Romans 3:25; with the obj.- genit., Romans 3:22; Galatians 2:16; Galatians 3:22; Ephesians 3:12; Philippians 3:9; Galatians 2:20; Acts 3:16; James 2:1; Revelation 2:13; Revelation 14:12; with Titus 1:1, compare Revelation 17:14.
(2.) Without nearer definition, simply as faith, which adheres with full, conviction and confidence to the N.T. revelation of salvation, and makes this its foundation (support). Here is especially of importance the expression (Acts 3:16), the faith which is by him, an expression which is used to point out the salvation arising from the mediation of Christ, through the looking unto Jesus, the author of faith (Hebrews 12:2). Under this class, besides the passages of the Synoptical Gospels already referred to, we mention Acts 14:22; Acts 16:5; Colossians 1:23; 1 Peter 5:9; Romans 14:1; Romans 4:19-20; 1 Corinthians 16:13; Romans 11:20; 2 Corinthians 1:24; 2 Corinthians 13:5; 1 Timothy 2:15; 2 Timothy 4:7; 2 Corinthians 8:7; 2 Corinthians 10:15; 2 Thessalonians 1:3; Colossians 2:7; 1 Timothy 1:19; James 2:1; James 2:14; James 2:18; Titus 1:13; Titus 2:2; 2 Corinthians 5:7; Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38 (comp. Galatians 2:20); Acts 13:8; 2 Timothy 2:18; 1 Timothy 1:19; 1 Timothy 4:1; 1 Timothy 5:8; 1 Timothy 5:12; 1 Timothy 6:10; 1 Timothy 6:21; 2 Timothy 3:8. Then the Pauline expressions ἐκ πίστεως εῖναι, οἱ ἐκ π (they which are of faith; Galatians 3:7; Galatians 3:9; Galatians 3:12; Galatians 3:22; Romans 4:16; Romans 3:26; comp. Hebrews 10:39), ἐσμἐν πίστεως (we are of them that believe), are used of faith proper (compare Romans 14:22-23). The phrases ἐκ πίστεως δικαιοῦν, δικαιοῦσθαι, make faith the necessary condition of justification (Romans 3:30; comp. Galatians 3:14; Romans 5:1; Galatians 2:16; Galatians 3:8; Romans 4:13; ἐκ πίοτεως, Romans 9:30; Romans 10:6; Philippians 3:9; comp. Romans 1:17; Romans 4:5; Romans 4:9). The word πιστις is found joined to ἀγάπη , Ephesians 6:23; 1 Thessalonians 3:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:8; 1 Timothy 1:14; 1 Timothy 4:12; 1 Timothy 6:11; 2 Timothy 1:5; 2 Timothy 1:13; 2 Timothy 2:22; Galatians 5:6; 1 Corinthians 13:13; Revelation 2:19; with ἐλπίς, ὑπομονή, 1 Corinthians 13:13; 2 Thessalonians 1:4; Revelation 13:10. The word is also found Acts 6:5; Acts 6:8; Acts 11:24; Acts 14:27; Acts 15:9; Romans 1:8; Romans 1:12; Romans 3:31; Romans 4:12; Romans 5:2; Romans 10:8; Romans 10:17; Romans 12:6; 1 Corinthians 2:5; 1 Corinthians 15:14; 1 Corinthians 15:17; 2 Corinthians 1:24; 2 Corinthians 4:13; Galatians 5:5; Galatians 5:22; Galatians 6:10; Ephesians 3:17; Ephesians 5:5; Ephesians 5:13; Ephesians 6:16; Philippians 1:25, 7:7; Colossians 1:4; 1 Thessalonians 1:3; 1 Thessalonians 3:2; 1 Thessalonians 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 3:7; 1 Thessalonians 3:10; 2 Thessalonians 2:2; 1 Timothy 1:2; 1 Timothy 1:4; 1 Timothy 2:7; 1 Timothy 3:9; 1 Timothy 4:6; 1 Timothy 6:12; 2 Timothy 1:5; 2 Timothy 3:10; Titus 1:1; Titus 1:4; Titus 3:15. Philemon 1:6; Hebrews 10:22; Hebrews 13:7; James 1:3; James 1:6; James 2:5; James 2:14; James 2:17-18; James 2:20; James 2:22; James 2:24; James 2:26; James 5:15; 1 Peter 1:5; 1 Peter 1:7; 1 Peter 1:9; 1 Peter 1:21; 2 Peter 1:1; 2 Peter 1:5; Judges 1:3; Judges 1:20.
That even in James, confidence, trust (and not mere recognition), is the essential element of faith, is manifest from the passage (James 5:15), ἡ εὀχὴ τῆς πίστεως σώσει τὸν κάμνοντα (the prayer of faith shall save the sick). The works of faith are, according to James, such as show forth faith, and without which faith sinks into a mere recognition (James 2:19), as dead faith (νεκρά ).
It must be noted that the word πίστις occurs in John's epistles only in one place, 1 John 5:4, and in his Apocalypse in four places (Revelation 2:13; Revelation 2:19; Revelation 13:10; Revelation 14:12).
There remain a few passages in which πίστις apparently does not denote "trust" in salvation by Christ, as Romans 12:3 (comp. Alford, in loc., and also Acts 17:31). 1 Corinthians 13:2 is easily explained by comparison with Matthew 21:21; Luke 17:5-6, and here will be best joined 1 Corinthians 12:9. In the signification faithfulness, πίστις, like the O.T. אמֵוּנָה, is spoken of God, Romans 3:3; of men, Matthew 23:23; Titus 2:10. With the former passage compare Isaiah 5:1 sq. Πιστεύω General meaning: a. to trust, to depend upon, τινὶ e.g. ταῖς σπονδαῖς θεῶν θεσφάτοις, Polyb. 5:62, 6; Sophocl. Philoct. 1360; Demosth. Philippians 2:67, 9. With the dative of the person and the acc. of the thing, π . τινί τι = to intrust (confide) something to a person, Luke 16:11; John 2:24; in the passive, πιστεύομαί τι, I am trusted with a thing; without obj.: I am trusted, Romans 3:2; 1 Corinthians 9:17; Galatians 2:7; 1 Thessalonians 2:4; 2 Thessalonians 1:10; 1 Timothy 1:11; Titus 1:3. b. Very frequently πιστεύειν τινὶ denotes to trust a person, to give credence to, to accept statements (to be convinced of their truth); Soph. El. 886, τῷ λόγῳ . In a broader sense, πιστεύειν τινί τι, to believe a person; e.g. Eur. Hec. 710, λόγοις ἐμοῖσι πίστευσον τάδε ; Xen. Apol. 15. Then πιστεύειν τι, to believe a thing, to rec. ognise it (as true); e.g. Plat. Gorg. 524, A, ἄ ἐγὼ ἀκηκοὼς πιστεύω ἀληθῆ εϊ v ναι; Aristot. Analyt. Proverbs 2, 23; also πιστεύειν περὶ, ὐπέρ τινος , Plut. Lye. 19, where πιστεύειν stands alone, to be inclined to believe, recognize a thing; while e.g. in John 9:18, the specific aim is added: "But the Jews did not believe concerning him that he had been blind, and received his sight."
In the N.T. (in which πιστεύειν has regard to our conduct towards God and his revelation) all these constructions are found, as well as the combinations (unusual in the profane Greek) of πεἰς, ἐπί τινα, ἐπὶ τινι and also πιστεύειν standing alone. The question is whether the original signification is confidence, or accepting as true.
(1.) We find πιστεύειν in the signification to believe, to takefor true, and hence to be convinced, to recognize (accept);
(a) with the acc. following, John 11:26, πιστεύεις τοῦτο; comp. John 11:25-26; 1 John 4:16; Acts 13:41; 1 Corinthians 11:18; 1 Timothy 3:16 (comp. Matthew 24:23; Matthew 24:26; Luke 22:67); John 10:25;
(b) with the infinitive after it, Acts 15:11(πιστεύομεν σωθῆναι );
(c) with or after it, Matthew 9:28; Mark 11:23-24; Acts 9:26; James 2:19, σὺ πιστεύεις ὅτι εϊ v ς ὁ θεός ἐστιν; compare Acts 27:25; John 4:21, πίστευέ μοι, ὅτι ἔρχεταιώρα This construction of πιστεύειν ὄτι is especially frequent in the writings of John, in St. Paul's meaning of it. It. is also used by Paul in Romans 6:8; 1 Thessalonians 4:14; but in Romans 10:9, ἐὰν πιστεύσῃς ἐν τῇ καρδίᾷ σου ὅτι ὁ θεὸς αὐτὸν ἤγειρεν ἐκ νεκρῶν, σωθήση , the sense of trust predominates over that of takingfor true. Compare also Hebrews 11:6, with Hebrews 11:1; Hebrews 4:3.
In John this construction with ὄτι is found in chapters John 4:21; John 8:24; John 10:38; John 11:27 (compare John 6:69); John 11:42 (compare John 17:3); John 13:19; John 14:10-11; John 16:27; (and have believed that I came out from God), John 16:30; John 17:8; John 17:21; John 20:31; 1 John 5:1; 1 John 5:5 (comp. with 1 John 5:10). In these passages the sense of πιστεύω is that of assent, belief, recognition, conviction of truth. This meaning is also predominant in the following passage: John 3:12 (If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe if I tell you of heavenly things) (comp. John 3:11). Note also the connection with γινώσκειν (to know), John 6:69
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McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Faith'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/f/faith.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.