Reader Appeal: Pastors, Bible teachers Genre: Commentary FBSN Rating: B+ It seems strange that asking a theologian to write a Bible commentary would be considered, well, strange. But in the “academic silo” world we live in, the fact is that theologians don’t typically write commentaries. Professors of biblical studies write commentaries, while theologians write, […]
“Do you believe that I am able to do this?” Jesus is recorded asking two blind men in Matthew 9:27-30. When they responded, “Yes Lord,” he said, “According to your faith will it be done for you.” And their sight was instantly restored!
That’s a lot riding on one little word, “Faith.” So what exactly does it mean? Theologian Lawrence O. Richards offers insight from both the Old and New Testaments:
When we read “belief” and “faith” in the OT…the original usually has the Hiphil stem of the Hebrew word ˋāman. The root indicates firmness and certainty; in this stem, the verb means “to be certain,” “to believe in,” or “to be assured.” … This powerful OT term, which captures the biblical meaning of faith, affirms certainty.
Pistis (“faith,” “belief”) and related words deal with relationships established by trust and maintained by trustworthiness…These words are used in the NT in a variety of constructions. For instance, to “believe” is used with the accusative to mean, “be convinced of,” or “entrust.” … The most important construction is unique to the NT, an invention of the early church that expresses the inmost secret of our faith. That construction links faith with the preposition eis, “to” or “into.” This is never done in secular Greek. In the NT it portrays a person committing himself or herself totally to the person of Jesus Christ, for our faith is into Jesus.
It’s no surprise then, that Jesus didn’t ask the blind men, “Do you believe God can do this?” but instead asked, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They responded with certainty of Christ’s intention, and placed full faith into his personal will (and ability) to act.
Today it seems we often try to manufacture faith out of hope that God will do our will rather than letting faith arise out of our certainty of his will. Perhaps, from these blind men, we can glimpse a little better what it really means to have rock-solid faith into Jesus—no matter what the circumstance.
[EDB, 113, 116-117]
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