Church Speak - Part 3 - Faith

The writer of Hebrews (the New Testament book) penned a clear definition of faith.
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)

I prefer that to Webster's verbiage:  "unquestioning belief, specifically in God."

I wonder when and why Webster (or whoever actually chooses what Webster's says) chose to include the word "unquestioning."  Since my faith journey began, my questions for and about God have never ceased. 

- Yes, Abram journeyed to a land he did not know, but not without asking questions.
- Yes, Moses led God's people out of captivity; but "unquestioning" certainly is not a word associated with him.
- I lose count of the question marks at the end of Job's sentences.
- Peter, John, Philip, Mary, Martha, Paul - they all asked questions.

So, if faith is not unquestioning belief, what is it?  Hebrews holds the answer.

Faith is Confidence
The word translated here as "confidence" in the Greek is derived from two words meaning "to set" and "under."  That means confidence (and, therefore, faith) is the foundation that sits under (upholds) belief.  A Christian builds his or her life on the foundation of belief - faith. 

Faith is Assurance
The writer does more in the verse than repeating himself through the use of synonyms.  "Assurance" is related to confidence yet they are not identical twins.  Assurance enhances confidence.  Assurance reinforces the walls built upon the foundation.  My faith grows as I continually trust that "what [I] do not see" is nevertheless a reality.  Alexander Purdy wrote:

unseen realities have independent and objective validity, and that [a person's] transient life in the shadowland can be redeemed from unreality only by holding fast to such revelations of the eternal. 
(p. 720)

Faith is confidence and assurance.  It guides the one who holds it through the shadowland in which we live.  We live in the shadows with faith that what we hope for and what we do not yet see will indeed be just as God promised.  Faith dares to believe the words of Paul . . .
For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
1 Corinthians 13:12 (NIV)



Purdy, Alexander. The Interpreter’s Bible. Ed. George Arthur Buttrick. Vol. 11. New York: Abingdon, 1955

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