Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Faith definitions

Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament  (11:1) The mention of a faith that is answered by salvation (10:39), leads the writer to speak about it now in detail. The word “faith” occurs without the article here, indicating that it is treated in its abstract conception, not particularly as New Testament faith. Vincent says, “It is important that the preliminary definition be clearly understood, since the following examples illustrate it. The key is furnished by verse 27, as seeing him who is invisible. Faith apprehends as a real fact what is not revealed to the senses. It rests on that fact, acts upon it, and is upheld by it in the face of all that seems to contradict it. Faith is real seeing.”
The word “substance” deserves careful treatment. It is hupostasis (ὑποστασις), made up of stasis (στασις) “to stand,” and hupo (ὑπο) “under,” thus “that which stands under, a foundation.” Thus it speaks of the ground on which one builds a hope. Moulton and Milligan17 report its use as a legal term. They say that it stands for “the whole body of documents bearing on the ownership of a person’s property, deposited in archives, and forming the evidence of ownership.” They suggest the translation, “Faith is the title-deed of things hoped for.” The Holy Spirit energized act of faith which a believer exercises in the Lord Jesus is the title-deed which God puts in his hand, guaranteeing to him the possession of the thing for which he trusted Him. In the case of this first-century Jew, his act of faith in Messiah as High Priest would be the title-deed which God would give him, guaranteeing to him the possession of the salvation for which he trusted God. Thus, he would have assurance. Vincent translates, “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for.” He says that “It is the firm grasp of faith on unseen fact.”
   The word “evidence” is the translation of elegchos (ἐλεγχος) which means, “a proof, that by which a thing is proved or tested.” Thayer in commenting on its use here defines it as follows: “that by which invisible things are proved and we are convinced of their reality.” His second definition of the word is “conviction.”
Vincent says: “Observe that hupostasis (ὑποστασις) and elegchos (ἐλεγχος) are not two distinct and independent conceptions, in which case kai (και) (and) would have been added; but they stand in apposition. Elegchos (Ἐλεγχος) is really included in hupostasis (ὑποστασις), but adds to the simple idea of assurance, a suggestion of influences operating to produce conviction which carry the force of demonstration. The word often signifies a process of proof or demonstration. So von Soden: ‘a being convinced. Therefore not a rash, feebly-grounded hypothesis, a dream of hope, the child of a wish.’ ”
The word “things” is the translation of pragma (πραγμα), “a thing done.” Vincent says that it introduces a wider conception than “things hoped for.” It embraces not only future realities, but all that does not fall under the cognizance of the senses, whether past, present, or future.
Translation. Now faith is the title-deed of things hoped for, the conviction of things which are not being seen.
Wuest, K. S. (1997). Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: For the English Reader (Heb 10:39–11:1). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.

Word studies in the New Testament   1. Faith (πίστις). Without the article, indicating that it is treated in its abstract conception, and not merely as Christian faith. It is important that the preliminary definition should be clearly understood, since the following examples illustrate it. The key is furnished by ver. 27, as seeing him who is invisible. Faith apprehends as a real fact what is not revealed to the senses. It rests on that fact, acts upon it, and is upheld by it in the face of all that seems to contradict it. Faith is a real seeing. See Introduction, p. 363.
Vincent, M. R. (1887). Word studies in the New Testament (Heb 11:1). New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.

Word Pictures in the New Testament   Hebrews 11:1  Now faith is (ἐστιν δε πιστις [estin de pistis]). He has just said that “we are of faith” (10:39), not of apostasy. Now he proceeds in a chapter of great eloquence and passion to illustrate his point by a recital of the heroes of faith whose example should spur them to like loyalty now. The assurance of things hoped for (ἐλπιζομενων ὑποστασις [elpizomenōn hupostasis]). ὑποστασις [Hupostasis] is a very common word from Aristotle on and comes from ὑφιστημι [huphistēmi] (ὑπο [hupo], under, ἱστημι [histēmi], intransitive), what stands under anything (a building, a contract, a promise). See the philosophical use of it in 1:3, the sense of assurance (une assurance certaine, Ménégoz) in 3:14, that steadiness of mind which holds one firm (II Cor. 9:4). It is common in the papyri in business documents as the basis or guarantee of transactions. “And as this is the essential meaning in Heb. 11:1 we venture to suggest the translation ‘Faith is the title-deed of things hoped for’ ” (Moulton and Milligan, Vocabulary, etc.). The proving of things not seen (πραγματων ἐλεγχος οὐ βλεπομενων [pragmatōn elegchos ou blepomenōn]). The only N.T. example of ἐλεγχος [elegchos] (except Textus Receptus in II Tim. 3:16 for ἐλεγμον [elegmon]). Old and common word from ἐλεγχω [elegchō] (Matt. 18:15) for “proof” and then for “conviction.” Both uses occur in the papyri and either makes sense here, perhaps “conviction” suiting better though not in the older Greek.
Robertson, A. (1933). Word Pictures in the New Testament (Heb 11:1). Nashville, TN: Broadman Press.

Question: "What is the definition of faith?"
Thankfully, the Bible contains a clear definition of faith in Hebrews 11:1: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Simply put, the biblical definition of faith is “trusting in something you cannot explicitly prove.”
    This definition of faith contains two aspects: intellectual assent and trust. Intellectual assent is believing something to be true. Trust is actually relying on the fact that the something is true. A chair is often used to help illustrate this. Intellectual assent is recognizing that a chair is a chair and agreeing that it is designed to support a person who sits on it. Trust is actually sitting in the chair.
Understanding these two aspects of faith is crucial. Many people believe certain facts about Jesus Christ. Many people will intellectually agree with the facts the Bible declares about Jesus. But knowing those facts to be true is not what the Bible means by “faith.” The biblical definition of faith requires intellectual assent to the facts and trust in the facts.
    Believing that Jesus is God incarnate who died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins and was resurrected is not enough. Even the demons believe in God and in those facts (cf. James 2:19). We must personally and fully rely on the death of Christ as the atoning sacrifice for our sins. We must “sit in the chair” of the salvation that Jesus Christ has provided. This is saving faith. The faith God requires of us for salvation is belief in what the Bible says about who Jesus is and what He accomplished and fully trusting in Jesus for that salvation (Acts 16:31). Biblical faith is always accompanied by repentance of sin (Matthew 21:32; Mark 1:15).
The biblical definition of faith does not apply only to salvation. It is equally applicable to the rest of the Christian life. We are to believe what the Bible says, and we are to obey it. We are to believe the promises of God, and we are to live accordingly. We are to agree with the truth of God’s Word, and we are to allow ourselves to be transformed by it (Romans 12:2).
Why is this definition of faith so important? Why must trust accompany agreeing with facts? Because “without faith, it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6). Without faith, we cannot be saved (John 3:16). Without faith, the Christian life cannot be what God intends it to be (John 10:10).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - "Faith"
In the Old Testament (the King James Version) the word occurs only twice: Deuteronomy 32:20 ( אמוּן , 'ēmūn ); Habakkuk 2:4 ( אמוּנה , 'ĕmūnāh ). In the latter the Revised Version (British and American) places in the margin the alternative rendering, "faithfulness." In the New Testament it is of very frequent occurrence, always representing πιστις , pistis , with one exception in the King James Version (not the Revised Version (British and American)), Hebrews 10:23 , where it represents ἐλπίς , elpı́s , "hope."
1. Etymology
The history of the English word is rather interesting than important; use and contexts, alike for it and its Hebrew and Greek parallels, are the surest guides to meaning. But we may note that it occurs in the form "feyth," in Havelok the Dane (13th century); that it is akin to fides and this again to the Sanskrit root bhidh , "to unite," "to bind." It is worth while to recall this primeval suggestion of the spiritual work of faith, as that which, on man's side, unites him to God for salvation.
2. Meaning: A Divergency
Studying the word "faith" in the light of use and contexts, we find a bifurcation of significance in the Bible. We may distinguish the two senses as the passive and the active; on the one side, "fidelity," "trustworthiness"; and "faith," "trust," on the other. In Galatians 5:22 , e.g. context makes it clear that "fidelity" is in view, as a quality congruous with the associated graces. (the Revised Version (British and American) accordingly renders pistis there by "faithfulness.") Again, Romans 3:3 the King James Version, "the faith of God ," by the nature of the case, means His fidelity to promise. But in the overwhelming majority of cases, "faith," as rendering pistis , means "reliance," "trust." To illustrate would be to quote many scores of passages. It may be enough here to call attention to the recorded use of the word by our Lord. Of about twenty passages in the Gospels where pistis occurs as coming from His lips, only one (Matthew 23:23 ) presents it in the apparent sense of "fidelity." All the others conspicuously demand the sense of "reliance," "trust." The same is true of the apostolic writings. In them, with rarest exceptions, the words "reliance," "trust," precisely fit the context as alternatives to "faith."
3. Faith in the Sense of Creed
Another line of meaning is traceable in a very few passages, where pistis , "faith," appears in the sense of "creed," the truth, or body of truth, which is trusted, or which justifies trust. The most important of such places is the paragraph James 2:14-26 , where an apparent contradiction to some great Pauline dicta perplexes many readers. The riddle is solved by observing that the writer uses "faith" in the sense of creed, orthodox "belief." This is clear from James 2:19 , where the "faith." in question is illustrated: "Thou believest that God is one ." This is the credal confession of the orthodox Jew (the shema‛ ; see Deuteronomy 6:4 ), taken as a passport to salvation. Briefly, James presses the futility of creed without life, Paul the necessity of reliance in order to receive "life and peace."
4. A Leading Passage Explained
It is important to notice that Hebrews 11:1 is no exception to the rule that "faith" normally means "reliance," "trust." There "Faith is the substance (or possibly, in the light of recent inquiries into the type of Greek used by New Testament writers, "the guaranty") of things hoped for, the evidence (or "convincing proof") of things not seen." This is sometimes interpreted as if faith, in the writer's view, were, so to speak, a faculty of second sight, a mysterious intuition into the spiritual world. But the chapter amply shows that the faith illustrated, e.g. by Abraham, Moses, Rahab, was simply reliance upon a God known to be trustworthy. Such reliance enabled the believer to treat the future as present and the invisible as seen. In short, the phrase here, "faith is the evidence," etc., is parallel in form to our familiar saying, "Knowledge is power."
5. Remarks
A few detached remarks may be added: (a ) The history of the use of the Greek pistis is instructive. In the Septuagint it normally, if not always, bears the "passive" sense "fidelity," "good faith," while in classical Greek it not rarely bears the active sense, "trust." In the koinē , the type of Greek universally common at the Christian era, it seems to have adopted the active meaning as the ruling one only just in time , so to speak, to provide it for the utterance of Him whose supreme message was "reliance," and who passed that message on to His apostles. Through their lips and pens "faith," in that sense, became the supreme watchword of Christianity. See JUSTIFICATION ; UNION WITH CHRIST .
6. Conclusion
In conclusion, without trespassing on the ground of other articles, we call the reader's attention, for his Scriptural studies, to the central place of faith in Christianity , and its significance. As being, in its true idea, a reliance as simple as possible upon the word, power, love, of Another, it is precisely that which, on man's side, adjusts him to the living and merciful presence and action of a trusted God. In its nature, not by any mere arbitrary arrangement, it is his one possible receptive attitude, that in which he brings nothing, so that he may receive all. Thus "faith" is our side of union with Christ. And thus it is our means of possessing all His benefits, pardon, justification, purification, life, peace, glory.
As a comment on our exposition of the ruling meaning of "faith" in Scripture, we may note that this precisely corresponds to its meaning in common life, where, for once that the word means anything else, it means "reliance" a hundred times. Such correspondence between religious terms (in Scripture) and the meaning of the same words in common life, will be found to be invariable.
Bibliography Information: Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Faith'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. 1915.

Dictionary of the Later New Testament and Its Developments FAITH, FAITHFULNESS
Faith is one of the most important theological concepts of the NT. Although the Pauline corpus most readily comes to mind when one speaks of faith, the concept is no less important in the later NT. One need only read Hebrews 11 to be reminded of that fact. “Faith” and its cognates are used in a variety of ways in the later NT; the word group is used to refer to religious faith (belief and trust in God or Christ) or trust, to the Christian faith itself, to something that functions as a proof, to those who are faithful and to that which is certain or unfailing.

1.  Acts.
Acts uses pisteuō (“to believe”) to refer to conversion to the Christian faith. When it is said in Acts 13:12 that the proconsul “began to believe,” it means that upon seeing the blinding of Bar-Jesus, he became a believer, that is, that he was converted to the Christian faith. It is interesting to note that his baptism is not mentioned, although it is almost always connected with conversion (Acts 8:12, 13; 11:16, 17; 16:15, 31–33; 18:8; 19:4, 5; cf. Acts 2:38, 41; 22:16). However, this does not mean that Sergius Paulus was not truly converted (cf. the discussion in Bruce, 299).
Acts very closely connects faith in Christ (or “in his name” [Acts 3:16, 11:17; 16:31; 20:21]) with repentance. This is not surprising, since in Acts the call to repentance is an essential element in proclaiming the gospel (cf. Barrett, 154). Thus after we read in Acts 11:17 that the Gentiles believed in God, in the next verse we learn that it is through Christ that the Gentiles were “granted repentance that leads to life.” Acts 6:7 says that those who became believers become “obedient to the faith” (where “faith” refers to the content of Christian belief and life), highlighting that for Luke faith is always more than mental assent to a set of doctrines; having faith means that one begins to live as God would have one to live.
The important theme that Gentiles are to believe in Christ and thus become part of the people of God (see Church as Israel) surfaces in various places in Acts, such as Acts 14:27 (see also Acts 13:8, 12, 39, 41, 48; 14:1, 9, 22, 23), which says that God opened a “door of faith” to the Gentiles. We are not to assume that for the first time in Acts, Gentiles have become believers (see the conversion of the eunuch in Acts 8 and of Cornelius in Acts 10). It is rather a summary statement of what has happened. The phrase “door of faith” is ambiguous; “faith” here most likely means not “true piety” (against Haenchen, 437) but the act of believing and the subsequent lifestyle. Though it is impossible to be precise, the expression implies that a way into faith has been made possible for the Gentiles through Christ.
2.  Hebrews.
As we would expect, Hebrews emphasizes the idea that merely hearing the gospel message without responding in faith will benefit the hearers nothing (Heb 4:2). One must respond to the message with faith and must persevere in that faith.
The Christians to which Hebrews is addressed are not threatened by a specific false teaching but seem to be afflicted with a fear of suffering that is crippling their faith (cf. the discussion in Ellingworth). Thus the author encourages them to “hold firmly to Jesus Christ, who is the initiator and the perfecter of faith.” Faith, they must realize, is of divine origin. Moreover, since it is not a mere human invention, they must understand that “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Heb 11:1). This is not a definition of faith (against Michel and Attridge) but a description of what it can accomplish in the life of the believer; properly understood and lived, faith ties believers to that which they do not yet see, but hope for. It is a dynamic, not static, response to God that allows one to live life in light of what one does not see (cf. the discussion in Lane).
In Hebrews, to have faith is to be faithful to God and to the gospel. There is an important difference between Hebrews’s and Paul’s use of Habakkuk 2:3–4. Galatians 3:12 makes it clear that Paul sees the law as operating on a different principle than that of the faith enunciated in Habakkuk 2:4. For Paul “the law is not based on faith.” The just live “by faith,” but the law is based on “doing,” a point Paul buttresses by citing Leviticus 18:5: “whoever does the works of the law will live by them” (though Paul does not mean to imply that those who live by faith are not required to live in obedience to God).
For the author of Hebrews, perseverance is the point of the affirmation of Habakkuk 2:3–4 (which he adapts much more freely than Paul does): “but my righteous one will live by faith” (Heb 10:38). It provides the starting point for the lengthy list of OT heroes of perseverance in faith in Hebrews 11:1–40. Faced with the possibility of destruction such as Israel faced in the wilderness (Heb 10:38–39), the readers of Hebrews are encouraged to remain faithful and to live by faith (Heb 10:38–39; 4:2–3). The OT heroes were faithful, as Habakkuk 2:3–4 says one must be. “My righteous one shall live by faith” is seen by Hebrews as a call to perseverance, a perseverance that is possible only because one can trust God. Faith in Hebrews involves both elements of obedience (manifested in endurance) and trust in a God who is himself faithful (Fitzmyer).
3.  James.
James emphasizes that faith must be accompanied by works (see Faith and Works). Whereas Paul says that one is saved by faith apart from works (cf. Rom 9:32), James says that faith without works is dead (Jas 2:17). However, contrary to J. T. Sanders, James has not misunderstood Paul. Sanders, who compares James to Romans 3–4, fails to take into account not only other Pauline letters but even the evidence of Romans itself. James is arguing that faith without works is not authentic faith. True faith calls for works, that is, doing the will of God, which includes kindness to the poor. A  person, he says, is justified by works and not by faith alone (Jas 2:24). Yet there is no dichotomy between James and Paul. It is a matter of different but mutually compatible perspectives. Paul insists on the necessity of works in the believer’s life (cf. Gal 5:6; 6:40), but because of his focus on justification by faith he emphasizes that it is faith that saves. For James the works that must accompany faith are in focus. James’s emphasis can easily be accounted for by positing that some people were saying that belief was enough, and they did not want to be concerned about such things as charity or that the church was courting the rich by not insisting on good works from them (Davids).
There is also a significant point of contact between James and Paul that should not be ignored. Throughout the Pauline corpus we see that Paul believes that God makes possible the good works that believers do. This, although it is not emphasized, also appears in James. In James 1:5 he says that if anyone desires wisdom from God, God will give it him or her. In James 3:17 the wisdom that comes from above is said to consist of, among other things, “mercy and good fruits.” The works that are to accompany faith thus find their ultimate origin in God (see also Jas 4:6: “he gives more grace”). Thus for both James and Paul the demand for Christian works is predicated upon one’s experience of grace (see DPL, James and Paul).
4.  Petrine Letters.
In 1 Peter 1:21 Christ is spoken of as the agent of faith in God. It is “through him you have confidence in God . . . so that your faith and hope are in God.” This verse highlights that in 1 Peter faith and hope are virtual synonyms (cf. Davids), but more importantly they show that for Peter, as for much of the NT, God has taken the initiative in Christ in his death (see Death of Christ) and resurrection, and this makes possible the human response of faith.
In 1 Peter perseverance in the face of severe suffering is a central theme. The Gentile believers to whom the letter is addressed must realize that they must be ready to suffer as Jesus did (cf. 1 Pet 1:6; 2:21–23). They must expect their faith to be tested, and they must realize that this is the norm for believers. Believers must remain “strong in [their] faith” (1 Pet 5:9), knowing that they can look forward to the last day when God will “restore, establish and strengthen” the suffering church.
2 Peter 1:5–7 urges believers to “make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue” (and other positive behaviors and qualities; see 2 Peter). Virtue (moral excellence) is but one of the necessary components of the believer’s life. As we also see in James and Paul, for Peter complete trust in God must be accompanied by works (cf. 2 Pet 1:8). That this should be so is here predicated on the fact that Christ’s divine power has granted believers “everything that pertains to life and godliness.” That the ability to live an authentic life of faith has already been granted them is what lies behind 1 Peter 2:24–25, the importance of which is not always recognized by interpreters. It provides the theological underpinning for all of Peter’s paraenesis. Believers can do as God asks of them (which includes remaining faithful while suffering) because Christ has died so that believers “might live to righteousness.”
5.  Johannine Letters.
In the Johannine letters (see John, Letters of) as in the Gospel of John, faith does not represent a retreat from the world but rather signals the ultimate defeat of the world, that is, the forces that are arrayed against God (1 Jn 5:4). In 1 John we read that one cannot love God (and to love God is to have faith in God) and not love fellow believers. Faith then must be evidenced by action; to see a brother or a sister in need and not to meet their needs is to fail in love of God and therefore in faith (1 Jn 3:17).
In the Johannine letters “to believe” involves nothing less than total commitment to Christ, his commandments and one’s fellow believers. Although the ideas of faith as receptivity and belief and of faithfulness are present throughout the Johannine letters, the verb occurs only in 1 John 5:1 and the noun occurs only once in the Johannine letters. 1 John 5:1 states that “the one who believes that Jesus is the Christ is a child of God.” With R. Bultmann we must note that for John pisteuō and homologeō are practically synonyms (cf. 1 Jn 2:23; 4:2, 3, 15) with right belief leading to new birth. 1 John 5:4 reads, “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that overcomes the world, our faith.” Faith refers not just to belief itself; in light of the context, which emphasizes belief in what is true about Christ, it must have christological content (cf. 1 Jn 5:6; cf. the discussion in Smalley). It is fidelity to the confession that Christ has come in the flesh that will enable believers to have victory over the world and its false prophets (1 Jn 4:1–3).
6.  Revelation.
In Revelation (see Revelation, Book of) persevering in faith is of paramount importance. The Revelation to John is to be written down (Rev 1:19) so that the oppressed elect might know what is and what is to come and thereby be challenged, comforted and ultimately remain faithful to Christ. Revelation 13:10 calls the believers to walk the same path as did Christ—one of suffering. Thus comes the “call for the endurance and faith of the saints.” Unwavering trust in the face of persecution is called for on the part of believers. In Revelation 2:10 John reveals his understanding of the nature of the persecution; although the Roman government (see Roman Empire) is the earthly agent of the church’s trials, the trials are diabolical in origin (see Satan). Thus he says that it is “the devil” who “is about to throw some of you into prison.” In this text, as we see throughout the NT, exhortations to faithfulness are complemented by assurances or the certainty of the future consummation of salvation (the “crown of life” in Rev 2:10).
7.  Apostolic Fathers.
H. Chadwick observes that as time passed and as the church spread “the faith,” that is, “that which is believed,” was crucial for giving scattered communities a sense of belonging to a larger whole. The unity of early Christian communities depended on the things they had in common: modes of worship and more importantly their allegiance to Jesus and to his teaching. Despite this commonality, however, we do find different emphases (cf. De Simone).
In Hermas it is stated explicitly that faith should lead to living righteously and that this combination leads to “life.” Pistis is the means by which “the elect of God are saved” (Herm. Vis. 3.8.2–3), and such faith gives birth to “self-control” and a host of other virtues. When one evidences these, then one can be sure that one will live (see also Herm. Man. 4.3.7). Knowing the truth is not enough: “if you bear the name but do not bear his power, you bear his name in vain” (Herm. Sim. 9.13.2). It is interesting to note that Hermas (like Jas 1:6) connects faith with the granting of prayer requests (cf. Herm. Man. 9.6). For 1 Clement faith and knowledge go hand in hand. “Let a man be faithful, let him have the power to speak deep [or secret] knowledge (1 Clem. 48.5; see Clement of Rome). Faith and knowledge are partners, for it is through faith in Christ that “our foolish and darkened understanding blossoms toward the light” and that “we should taste the immortal knowledge” (1 Clem. 36.2).
For Ignatius of Antioch, as for the other apostolic fathers, the object and ground of faith is Christ, crucified and raised from the dead (Ign. Trall. 9.2; cf. Ign. Phld. 8.2). The Christian life begins with belief in Christ and this very early summary of the essentials of “the faith,” but it must end in “love.” “They who proclaim to be of Christ shall be seen through their deeds” (Ign. Eph. 14.1-2).
By the time of John Chrysostom, Christians are speaking about the difference between faith and the knowledge that can be gotten by human reason alone. Chrysostom, in Homily 22.1.3, comments on Hebrews 11:3–4, saying that “faith needs a generous and vigorous soul, and one rising above all things of sense and passing beyond the weakness of human reasonings. For it is not possible to become a believer otherwise than by raising one’s self above the common customs [of the world].” Faith, according to Chrysostom, cannot depend on human reason. It must rise above it; one must be open to enlightenment, which comes from God.
See also Assurance; Baptism, Baptismal Rites; Endurance, Perseverance; Faith and Works; Forgiveness; Grace; Hope; Love; Repentance, Second Repentance.
BIBLIOGRAPHY. H. Attridge, The Epistle to the Hebrews (Herm; Philadelphia: Fortress, 1989); C. K. Barrett, The Acts of the Apostles (2 vols.; ICC; Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1994-); G. Barth, “πίστις, ” EDNT 3:91–98; G. R. Beasley-Murray, The Book of Revelation (NCB; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1974); R. E. Brown, The Epistles of John (AB; Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1982); F. F. Bruce, The Acts of the Apostles (3d ed.; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1990); R. Bultmann, The Johannine Epistles (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1973); idem, “πιστεύω κτλ,” TDNT 6:174–228; G. B. Caird, The Revelation of St. John the Divine (HNTC; New York: Harper & Row, 1966); H. Chadwick, The Early Church (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1967); P. H. Davids, The Epistle of James (NIGTC; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982); idem, The First Epistle of Peter (NICNT; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1990); M. Dibelius, The Epistle of James (Herm; Philadelphia: Fortress, 1975); R. J. De Simone, “Faith” in Encyclopedia of the Early Church, ed. A. Di Berardino (2 vols.; New York: Oxford University Press, 1992) 1:315–17; P. Ellingworth, The Epistle to the Hebrews (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1993); J. A. Fitzmyer, “Habakkuk 2:3–4 and the New Testament” in To Advance the Gospel (New York: Crossroad, 1981) 236–46; L. Goppelt, A Commentary on 1 Peter (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1993); E. Haenchen, The Acts of the Apostles (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1971); R. P. C. Hanson, Tradition in the Early Church (London: SCM, 1962); J. N. D. Kelly, The Epistles of Peter and of Jude (London: A. & C. Black, 1969); W. L. Lane, Hebrews (2 vols.; WBC; Dallas: Word, 1991); D. R. Lindsay, “The Roots and Development of the pist-Word Group as Faith Terminology,” JSNT 49 (1993) 103–18; D. Lührmann, “Faith,” ABD 2:752–58; O. Michel, “Faith,” NIDNTT 1:587–605; R. H. Mounce, The Book of Revelation (NICNT; Grand Rapids; Eerdmans, 1977); J. T. Sanders, Ethics in the New Testament (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1975); S. S. Smalley, 1, 2, 3 John (WBC; Waco, TX: Word, 1984); C. Spicq, “πίστις, ” TLNT 3:110–16.
B. Eastman
Martin, R. P., & Davids, P. H. (2000). Dictionary of the Later New Testament and Its Developments (electronic ed.). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

James 1.1-4 - Book Intro and Trials - Carpenter Flock Sunday school

James 1
What is God’s purpose for you?  Discussion time.
In Job 1, Satan came to God with the objective of shaking his faith in and loyalty to God.  Satan was relentless in his attack.
In Romans 8.28-29 the "good" is to conformed to the image of Christ so that he will be the firstborn among many brothern.  The work that God is doing in our life is to complete that work. 
The great question in our trials, whether  events or temptations can loosen your grip of faith.
I. Introduction
A. From:  James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
James was actually Jacob (Iakōbos). It is not certain why the English translators chose “James” rather than “Jacob.” “James,” “Jake,” and “Jacob” all come from the same root. Bible translations in other languages tend to utilize the transliterated name from the actual Hebrew “Jacob” (ya‘ăqōb). Could it be that King James desired to see his name in the English translation he authorized?[1]
·         James, the brother of John and son of Zebedee: Martyred by Herod Agrippa I by AD 44 (Acts 12:2), the year Agrippa died.
·         James, the less (or younger) AND James, the father of the “other” apostle Judas (Luke 6:16).:  Probably did not have the prominence need to write a letter of this nature.
·         James, the brother of Jesus (James the Just) and lead elder of the church in Jerusalem in Acts 15: Most likely author  (1. Linguistic similarities between this book and the letter from the Apostolic Council in Acts 15.   2. Circumstances in the letter fit the date and situation from which James in Jerusalem would be writing.)
·         δοῦλος doulos obedience, humility, loyalty, greatness,
lit. man of servile condition
metaph., one who gives himself up to another's will those whose service is used by Christ in extending and advancing his cause among men
·         Why didn’t James mention is position in Jerusalem or that he was the physical half-brother to Jesus?
B. To:  To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad:
·         Addressing Jewish Christians outside Israel. 
·         (ἐν τῇ διασπορᾷ). Lit., in the dispersion; on which see on 1 Pet 1:1. Rev., which are of the dispersion.[2]
·         Probably the first book of the new testament -AD 45 (1. No allusions to concepts in Paul’s writings on the subject of faith.  2. No sign of the Acts 15 council having any influence on the book.)
C. Salutation:  Greetings. χαίρω chairō Note the similarity to joy χαρά chara in the Greek forms a link between the salutation and section on trials..
·         1) to rejoice, be glad  2) at the beginning of letters: to give one greeting, salute
·          The idiom, Greetings, common in thousands of ancient papyri letters, does not stand alone in any other New Testament letter. This is the Greek salutation much like the English “Hello” or “Welcome.” (See comments on 2 John 10-11.) It is interesting that James did not add the Jewish salutation “Peace” (šālôm). Paul usually included both the Greek and Hebrew greetings, which are translated “grace and peace.” James undoubtedly sought to maintain a crisp style and the simple elegance of good Greek even though he wrote to fellow Jews. Furthermore, the play on words between “greetings” (chairein) in James 1:1 and “joy” (charan) in verse 2 is thus more evident.[3]

II. Trials
1 Peter 1.6
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.

My brethren,  (Addresses like “friends,” “beloved” and “brothers” were common in ancient moral exhortation; “brothers” was used both for “fellow countrymen” and for “fellow religionists.”[4])
A. Exhortation:  count it all joy
·   count ἡγέομαι hēgeomai 1) to lead 2) to consider, deem, account, think (reckon) 
It is a financial term, and it means “to evaluate.” Paul used it several times in Philippians 3. When Paul became a Christian, he evaluated his life and set new goals and priorities. Things that were once important to him became “garbage” in the light of his experience with Christ. When we face the trials of life, we must evaluate them in the light of what God is doing for us.[5]
“James is not commanding how one should feel, but rather how one should think about one’s circumstances.” –Craig Bloomberg & Mariam Kamell in  Zondervan Exegetical C.onN.T.
But while we cannot will ourselves to be jovial rather than depressed, we can choose how we think—hence the verbs about considering and knowing in vv. 2-3.’ –Craig Bloomberg & Mariam Kamell in  Zondervan Exegetical C.onN.T.
·   all   Describes joy: “probably suggests intensity (complete and unalloyed joy) rather than exclusivity (nothing but joy)” –Douglas Moo in PillarNTC
·   joy   Combined with consider with this word makes it clear that it is not an emotional response.  “a state of mind”
1. Time: when you fall into various trials:
·         When, not if.  “Christianity does not shelter one from any adversity.” –Craig Bloomberg & Mariam Kamell in  Zondervan Exegetical C.onN.T.
1. It is implied that troubles and afflictions may be the lot of the best Christians[6] 
·         We are not to seek troubles.  We should not be surprised by them. 
·         fall – “The experiences that come to the children of God are not by accident (Rom. 8:28).” [7]
·         various – God can work even through evil events to accomplish His good.
Even when believers have largely themselves to blame for difficulties, God’s sovereignty is not thwarted and He still works to bring something good out of the situation.” –Craig Bloomberg & Mariam Kamell in  Zondervan Exegetical C.onN.T.
·   trials - πειρασμός peirasmos  1. an outward trial or process of “testing” (1 Peter 4:12) or 2. enticement to sin (James 1.1 Timothy 6:9) 
·   There will be the
test of the sorrows and the disappointments
test of the seductions which seek to lure us from the right way.
tests of the dangers, the sacrifices, the unpopularity which the Christian way must so often involve.
2. Reason: knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.
·   Testing  δοκίμιον dokimion   – it is regarded by some as equivalent to dokimeion, "a crucible, a test;" as in 1 Peter 1.7 (“that the genuineness of your faith … though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor…”) –Vines Expository Dictionary
·   faith – without the article refers to the act of believing not what is believed.
·   patience ὑπομονή hypomonē  From ὑπό (G5259) under; and μένω (G3306) abide.  lit. to abide under -- 1. a patient enduring, sustaining, perseverance  2. in the NT the characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings.
·   It isn’t so much the quality that helps you sit quietly in the doctor’s waiting room as it is the quality that helps you finish a marathon.  --Guzik
B. Exhortation: But let patience have its perfect work, (present, active, indicative)
·   patience ὑπομονή hypomonē  From ὑπό (G5259) under; and μένω (G3306) abide.  lit. to abide under -- 1. a patient enduring, sustaining, perseverance  2. in the NT the characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings.
·   When we bear all that God appoints, and as long as he appoints, and with a humble obedient eye to him, and when we not only bear troubles, but rejoice in them, then patience hath its perfect work.[8]
1.      Purpose: that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
What is God’s purpose in trials? It is the perfection of Christian character in His children. He wants His children to be mature (perfect), and maturity is developed only in the laboratory of life. Trials can produce patience (see Rom. 5:3), which means “endurance”; and endurance in turn leads the believer into deeper maturity in Christ. [9]
·   perfect  τέλειος teleios 1) brought to its end, finished;  2) wanting nothing necessary to completeness;   3) perfect
“It makes him perfect. The Greek is teleios (GSN5046) which usually has the meaning of perfection towards a given end. A sacrificial animal is teleios (GSN5046) if it is fit to offer to God. A scholar is teleios (GSN5046) if he is mature. A person is teleios (GSN5046) if he is full grown. This constancy born of testing well met makes a man teleios (GSN5046) in the sense of being fit for the task he was sent into the world to do. Here is a great thought. By the way in which we meet every experience in life we are either fitting or unfitting ourselves for the task which God meant us to do.” –William Barclay

2. In Paul’s writings perfection or maturity entails several ideas related to the concept of fulfillment, reaching a goal or attaining completion. The English word actualized captures an important nuance in Paul’s thinking on this subject: that which is perfect or mature has fulfilled its intended goal.[10]
·   complete ὁλόκληρος holoklēros  complete in all its parts, in no part wanting or unsound, complete, entire, whole
It makes him complete. The Greek is holokleros (GSN3648) which means entire, perfect in every part. It is used of the animal which is fit to be offered to God and of the priest who is fit to serve him. It means that the animal or the person has no disfiguring and disqualifying blemishes. Gradually this unswerving constancy removes the weaknesses and the imperfections from a man's character. Daily it enables him to conquer old sins, to shed old blemishes and to gain new virtues, until in the end he becomes entirely fit for the service of God and of his fellow-men.  a totality, with special emphasis upon the entity as a whole—‘whole, entire.’ –William Barclay
καὶ ὁλόκληρον ὑμῶν τὸ πνεῦμα καὶ ἡ ψυχὴ καὶ τὸ σῶμα ἀμέμπτωςτηρηθείη ‘and may he keep … your entire being, spirit, soul, and body, without blame’ 1 Th 5:23. [11]
The distinction then is plain. The ὁλόκληρος is one who has preserved, or who, having once lost, has now regained, his completeness: the τέλειος is one who has attained his moral end, that for which he was intended, namely, to be a man in Christ; however it may be true that, having reached this, other and higher ends will open out before him, to have… -- Richard C. Trench in Synonyms of the New Testament
lacking nothing   It makes him deficient in nothing. The Greek is leipesthai (GSN3007) and it is used of the defeat of an army, of the giving up of a struggle, of the failure to reach a standard that should have been reached.  –William Barclay

[1] Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1985). The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Jas 1:1). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
[2] Vincent, M. R. (1887). Word studies in the New Testament (Jas 1:1). New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.
[3] Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1985). The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Jas 1:1). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
[4] Keener, C. S. (1993). The IVP Bible background commentary: New Testament (Jas 1:3–4). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
[5] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Jas 1:2). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
[6] Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: Complete and unabridged in one volume (Jas 1:2–12). Peabody: Hendrickson.
[7] Wiersbe, W. W. (1992). Wiersbe’s expository outlines on the New Testament (720). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
[8] Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: Complete and unabridged in one volume (Jas 1:2–12). Peabody: Hendrickson.
[9] Wiersbe, W. W. (1992). Wiersbe’s expository outlines on the New Testament (720). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
[10] Dictionary of Paul and his letters. 1993 (G. F. Hawthorne, R. P. Martin & D. G. Reid, Ed.) (699). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
[11] Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Vol. 1: Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: Based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition.) (596). New York: United Bible Societies.