Dr. Swisher, What is Faith? Rochelle, Napoleon, Ohio
Hello Rochelle, thank you for this question about this fundamental principle of Christianity. The predominate idea of faith comes from a Greek root word meaning trust or confidence, assurance and belief. The word Faith appears hundreds of times in the Bible depending on the translation or version that you use. For example faith appears 458 times in the New International version of the Bible, 389 times in the New King James version and 521 times in the Good News Bible. Interestingly enough faith appears 24 times in Hebrews, chapter 11 alone. So it is clear that this word and the concept it represents is a pivotal one for those who believe.
The Bible defines this word in an number of places but most significantly in my opinion in Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.” Faith is the substance or assurance of things we hope for, but have not yet received. Faith, confidence, trust, belief is also our evidence of that which is not seen—the invisible spiritual things. For example, faith comes before a prayer is answered or before an individual has received what he or she has asked of God.
A real life example of this concept is found in the Gospel of Matthew 9: 27-30 where two blind men came to Jesus and asked Him to heal them. Jesus first asked them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” and their reply was, “Yes, Lord.” “Then He touched their eyes saying, ‘According to your faith let it be done to you.’ And their eyes were opened.” Their faith and assurance that Jesus could give them sight was the substance or reality they hoped for. It also gave them the evidence or trust they would receive what they asked for. They believed; that is, they had faith in advance that it would be done. However, faith is more than just believing in God alone. It includes acting on that faith in one’s life by serving God and following His example. Faith is increased by drawing closer to God through prayer and the study of the Bible. Another way faith is increased is by hearing examples shared through messages of hope. Romans 10:17 reminds us “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” When we read the Bible or attend Church or Bible studies or small group events, our faith, confidence, assurance in God through Jesus Christ to answer our prayers and bring us through impossible situations increases. One easy way to do just that is to be our guest in Church today at Epworth UMC. We would love for you to join us at 8:30, 9:45 and 11:00am. Blessings to you Rochelle and to everyone who chooses this exciting adventure of living with Faith.