Faithful, Faithfully, Faithless - Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words

Faithful, Faithfully, Faithless

[ 1,,G4103, pistos ]
a verbal adjective, akin to peitho (See FAITH), is used in two senses,
(a) Passive, faithful, to be trusted, reliable," said of God, e.g., 1 Corinthians 1:9; 1 Corinthians 10:13; 2 Corinthians 1:18 (AV, "true"); 2 Timothy 2:13; Hebrews 10:23; Hebrews 11:11; 1 Peter 4:19; 1 John 1:9; of Christ, e.g., 2 Thessalonians 3:3; Hebrews 2:17; Hebrews 3:2; Revelation 1:5; Revelation 3:14; Revelation 19:11; of the words of God, e.g., Acts 13:34, "sure;" 1 Timothy 1:15; 1 Timothy 3:1 (AV, "true"); 1 Timothy 4:9; 2 Timothy 2:11; Titus 1:9; Titus 3:8; Revelation 21:5; Revelation 22:6; of servants of the Lord, Matthew 24:45; Matthew 25:21, Matthew 25:23; Acts 16:15; 1 Corinthians 4:2, 1 Corinthians 4:17; 1 Corinthians 7:25; Ephesians 6:21; Colossians 1:7; Colossians 4:7, Colossians 4:9; 1 Timothy 1:12; 1 Timothy 3:11; 2 Timothy 2:2; Hebrews 3:5; 1 Peter 5:12; 3 John 1:5; Revelation 2:13; Revelation 17:14; of believers, Ephesians 1:1; Colossians 1:2;
(b) Active, signifying "believing, trusting, relying," e.g., Acts 16:1 (feminine); 2 Corinthians 6:15; Galatians 3:9 seems best taken in this respect, as the context lays stress upon Abraham's "faith" in God, rather than upon his "faithfulness." In John 20:27 the context requires the Active sense, as the Lord is reproaching Thomas for his want of "faith." See No. 2.



With regard to believers, they are spoken of sometimes in the Active sense, sometimes in the Passive, i.e., sometimes as believers, sometimes as "faithful." See Lightfoot on Galatians, p. 155.

Note: In 3 John 1:5 the RV has "thou doest a faithful work," for AV, "thou doest faithfully." The lit. rendering is "thou doest (poieo) a faithful thing, whatsoever thou workest (ergazo)." That would not do as a translation. To do a "faithful" work is to do what is worthy of a "faithful" man. The AV gives a meaning but is not exact as a translation. Westcott suggests "thou makest sure (piston) whatsoever thou workest" (i.e., it will not lose its reward). The change between poieo, "to do," and ergazo, "to work," must be maintained. Cp. Matthew 26:10 (ergazo and ergon).

[ 2,,G571, apistos ]
is used with meanings somewhat parallel to No. 1;
(a) "untrustworthy" (a, negative, and No. 1), not worthy of confidence or belief, is said of things "incredible," Acts 26:8;
(b) "unbelieving, distrustful," used as a noun, "unbeliever," Luke 12:46; 1 Timothy 5:8 (RV, for AV, "infidel"); in Titus 1:15; Revelation 21:8, "unbelieving;" "faithless" in Matthew 17:17; Mark 9:19; Luke 9:41; John 20:27. The word is most frequent in 1 and 2 Corinthians. See BELIEVE, INCREDIBLE, INFIDEL, UNBELIEVER, UNFAITHFUL. (In the Sept., Proverbs 17:6; Proverbs 28:25; Isaiah 17:10.)

Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words