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Bible Gem 104 - What does it mean to believe? (John 16:30-31)

March 13, 2019

 

Back in Bible Gemz 28, I told you there is a pivotal point in John where “believe” reaches a peak.  That when we get to that point I will explain the theme of “Believe” more fully. Now is the moment. I trust you have seen already how frequently John uses to the word in his gospel. “But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in Him you will have life by the power of His name.”  This is John’s theme statement that you Bible Gemz readers know so well by now.  John’s major theme is about believing in the Christ and becoming a child of God.

 

In case you are in any doubt, the table below gives us a frequency count of the word over the complete New Testament. This information was gained quickly from a concordance. John uses the word “believe” 45% of all NT usage. It is very important to his gospel; a major theme word. But note how he uses the verb “believe”, “trust” “commit” 90 times, but doesn’t use the noun once. He is intent on telling us the story through the verb. 

 

Let’s look at the details more. Sometimes this is difficult because a word we want to study has a number of meanings in English gained from the same word in the original language. This is a good example. Πιστεύω [pisteuō] means  to have faith (in, upon, or with respect to, a person or thing), that is,  to entrust (especially one’s spiritual well being to Christ): - believe, commit (to trust), put in trust with.  The word Πιστις [pistis] is cognate with [pisteuō] and is the word for “faith”.  All of these words come from the same root.

 

The Use of “Faith” and “Believe” in the New Testament

The use of believe in John (or in all of the New Testament for that matter) has nothing to do with a cerebral belief, a mental assent to something. The New Testament concept is way more than an agreement that something is correct. It not a case of accenting to something, but a whole of life belief. Allow me to use a translation story to illustrate. Among the Gemi people in Papua New Guinea the word for “Believe” has to be set in the whole of life context. If you ask a Gemi if he believes “that log over the river is safe and can hold him” he will have to put it to the test first before he can say yes I trust it. If a Gemi says “I believe” it is a body, soul and spirit belief. It can’t be just with his mind only. That is New Testament belief! If we say we believe it is committing our whole being to the one in whom we place our trust. Not just mind and thinking only. We modern sophisticated people seem to be able to divide off the mind from the rest of the being. It is not NT belief.  Note too John 20:31 includes the concept of “name” as well. 

 

And if you really want to get to grips with all that John is doing with the word believe you need to look at all the ways in which he uses it. I will wait till the end of Chapter to 20 to bring all the threads together. You can do some thinking of your own in the meantime. Well you don’t want me to do all the thinking, do you?

 

 

Santa fills your stockings with goodies; JESUS supplies all your needs.


Santa comes down your chimney uninvited; JESUS stands at your door and knocks, and then enters your heart when invited.

 

Take a deep breath. It calms the mind .Regina Brett

Three sentences for success:     

       a) know more than others

       b) work more than others

       c) expect less than others    William Shakespeare

 

 

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