Body and Blood of Christ

Faith (pistis)

'Faitlh is one of the most frequently used words in the Synoptic Gospels: in them it has connotations of action more than of mere belief in the head. In Mark 2:5, for example, Jesus commends the faith action of the people who made a hole in the roof to let the paralytic down in front of him for healing.

The New Testament usage comes from that of the Hebrew Scriptures where the word ‘man’ (from which Amen comes) has the sense of standing firm on one's convictions (see Is 7:9B), being reliable (Ex 18:21), peaceful (Is 39:8) or supportive (see Is 60:4). It is God above all who is seen as faithful to the people of Israel even when they are unfaithful. The prophets ask that the people return this faithful love of God by the active way they show responsibility for one another.

Hosea, for example, points out that the people have broken faith with God by the way in which they have broken faith with one another: 'There is no loyalty, no faithful love, no knowledge of God in the land, only false swearing, lying, murder, stealing, adultery and violence (Hos 4:2). Because of this, the text goes on to say: 'the land mourns and everything that dwells in it withers.' Bad faith towards God and other people brings about cosmic catastrophe. Perhaps our over insistence on faith as belief rather than action has contributed somewhat to the ecological crisis in which we now find ourselves.

In the Epistles of Paul and in the Gospel of John what is stressed is faith in the person of Jesus (see Gal 2.:16), a belief which also leads to action (see Rom 1:16-17; I Cot I2:4-11). By the time of the Acts of the Apostles, the word 'believers' could stand for all those who had become followers of Christ (see Acts 4:32). Faith is, then, in the New Testament an 'obedience' (see Rom 1.'5), a word which literally means a 'hearing under' - we are to listen for what the living out of the Christian message will demand of us. Faith means a surrender, a total commitment to the Christian way of life.

   Celine Mangan




Quill Pen

Biblical Words

This is the Story of Jesus drawn from the four Evangelists


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Explanations to some of the terms, words, meanings and concepts in the Bible

Unfolding the story of jesus