Faith - Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words


[ 1,,G4102, pistis ]
primarily, firm persuasion," a conviction based upon hearing (akin to peitho, "to persuade"), is used in the NT always of "faith in God or Christ, or things spiritual."

The word is used of
(a) trust, e.g., Romans 3:25 [See Note
(4) below]; 1 Corinthians 2:5; 1 Corinthians 15:14, 1 Corinthians 15:17; 2 Corinthians 1:24; Galatians 3:23 [See Note
(5) below]; Philippians 1:25; Philippians 2:17; 1 Thessalonians 3:2; 2 Thessalonians 1:3; 2 Thessalonians 3:2;
(b) trust-worthiness, e.g., Matthew 23:23; Romans 3:3, RV, "the faithfulness of God;" Galatians 5:22 (RV, "faithfulness"); Titus 2:10, "fidelity;"
(c) by metonymy, what is believed, the contents of belief, the "faith," Acts 6:7; Acts 14:22; Galatians 1:23; Galatians 3:25 [contrast Galatians 3:23, under
(a)]; Galatians 6:10; Philippians 1:27; 1 Thessalonians 3:10; Jude 1:3, Jude 1:20 (and perhaps 2 Thessalonians 3:2);
(d) a ground for "faith," an assurance, Acts 17:31 (not as in AV, marg., "offered faith");
(e) a pledge of fidelity, plighted "faith," 1 Timothy 5:12.

The main elements in "faith" in its relation to the invisible God, as distinct from "faith" in man, are especially brought out in the use of this noun and the corresponding verb, pisteuo; they are

(1) a firm conviction, producing a full acknowledgement of God's revelation or truth, e.g., 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12;

(2) a personal surrender to Him, John 1:12;

(3) a conduct inspired by such surrender, 2 Corinthians 5:7. Prominence is given to one or other of these elements according to the context. All this stands in contrast to belief in its purely natural exercise, which consists of an opinion held in good "faith" without necessary reference to its proof. The object of Abraham's "faith" was not God's promise (that was the occasion of its exercise); his "faith" rested on God Himself, Romans 4:17, Romans 4:20-Romans 4:21. See ASSURANCE, BELIEF, FAITHFULNESS, FIDELITY.


(1) In Hebrews 10:23, elpis, "hope," is mistranslated "faith" in the AV (RV, "hope").

(2) In Acts 6:8 the most authentic mss. have charis, "grace," RV, for pistis, "faith."

(3) In Romans 3:3, RV, apistia, is rendered "want of faith," for AV, "unbelief" (so translated elsewhere). See UNBELIEF. The verb apisteo in that verse is rendered "were without faith," RV, for AV, "did not believe."

(4) In Romans 3:25, the AV wrongly links "faith" with "in His blood," as if "faith" is reposed in the blood (i.e., the death) of Christ; the en is instrumental; "faith" rests in the living Person; hence the RV rightly puts a comma after "through faith," and renders the next phrase "by His blood," which is to be connected with "a propitiation." Christ became a propitiation through His blood (i.e., His death in expiatory sacrifice for sin).

(5) In Galatians 3:23, though the article stands before "faith" in the original, "faith" is here to be taken as under
(a) above, and as in Galatians 3:22, and not as under
(c), "the faith;" the article is simply that of renewed mention.

(6) For the difference between the teaching of Paul and that of James, on "faith" and works, See Notes on Galatians, by Hogg and Vine, pp. 117-119.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words