8 Nov 2011

Believing is Faith in Action

Submitted by Stephen Winters


I'm slow at times. Sometimes it takes me a while to finally grasp some things. For a long time I've wrestled with, trying to understand, the difference between "faith" and "belief" or "believe". Do the mean the same thing (if so, why use two different words) or do they have different definitions. I finally looked the definitions in a Greek dictionary. This is what I found:

Greek Definition of "Faith"

G4102 (Mickelson's Enhanced Strong's Greek and Hebrew Dictionaries)
G4102 πίστις pistis (pis'-tis) n.
1. persuasion, i.e. credence
2. (morally) conviction (of religious truth, or the truthfulness of God or a religious teacher)
3. (especially) reliance upon Christ for salvation
4. (abstractly) constancy in such profession
5. (by extension) the system of religious (Gospel) truth itself
[from G3982]
KJV: assurance, belief, believe, faith, fidelity
Root(s): G3982

Greek Definition of "Believe"

G4100 (Mickelson's Enhanced Strong's Greek and Hebrew Dictionaries)
G4100 πιστεύω pisteuo (pist-yoo'-o) v.
1. to have faith (in, upon, or with respect to, a person or thing), i.e. credit
2. (by implication) to entrust (especially one's spiritual well-being to Christ)
[from G4102]
KJV: believe(-r), commit (to trust), put in trust with
Root(s): G4102

So, it finally dawned on me. Faith is a noun (person, place or thing) and believe is a verb (it shows action). So, to "believe" is to put one's "faith" into action. So, on a practical sense, what does that mean? Do I just turn on my "believe" switch as I would turn on a light switch? How do I start believing instead of just having faith?

Here's an example. A person can sit in their recliner in the living room and say, "Yes, I have faith that I can put a computer together." If he continues to sit in his recliner and does nothing, his faith is useless. Conversely, if he follows that "statement of faith' with action, (he orders the computer parts and begins putting the computer together) his faith is put into action. At this point his faith is actually "believing".

Believing is more than a mental assent "I believe" and then that's it. Truly believing also brings our motives and intents inline with our beliefs. Everything that we do centers around our true beliefs. We can tell what people believe by what they much more than what they say. Word are cheap. But our actions (when we thing that no one is looking) clearly display what we truly believe.


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