Friday, September 30, 2011

Romans 4:5

Romans 4:5

It's important to remember as we read the Bible that it was not originally written in English. Some of the English words are translations of Greek, Hebrew, or Aramaic terms that carry a slightly different meaning or have more than one definition than the one word used in English. Exploring those nuances and alternate meanings can enrich our understanding of God's Word.

My first step of this process for "faith" led me to several English dictionary sites which defined faith (among other definitions) as being a belief or trust in something for which there is no proof. I wasn't satisfied with this definition because it implies a suspension of logic, a deliberate decision to ignore what our reason tells us we should pay attention to. This is too narrow. Faith in Jesus is not a choice opposed to historical evidence, but an expansion of it: an acceptance of the evidence and a choice to recognize Him as a reliable authority we will trust more than unreliable human authorities. Abraham didn't choose to "follow his feelings" nor was he mentally unstable or he would not have become so wealthy and the leader of such a large clan. He instead decided that when God's instructions and human logic seemed opposed to one another, God was the more trustworthy authority and therefore the one he would choose to follow.

This is of course only the first step in exploring such a powerful word. It is enough for me for now: my brain can only hold so much at one time. ;-) My explorations led me to this article, which I found helpful in understanding and clarifying why I felt the first definitions were so inadequate. I thought the first paragraph was especially good and I may return there in the future to explore the meaning of faith more fully.

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