The Bible and faith are closely related to most people. In fact, faith is mentioned as one of the three core Christian virtues, in the familiar trinity of ‘faith, hope, and love’ (1 Corinthians 13:13). That’s why the Bible is full of information on faith, insights on what faith is, what is means to the world, and what it could mean to you personally.
Faith means a conviction of what someone believes in. It captures the beliefs that are commonly tied to Christianity, but it goes beyond believing. Faith also reflects God’s promise and the part that we as humans play in it. Someone who ‘walks in faith’ has no room for doubt and is convinced of the good that God plays in this world, and in the good ending the world will have.
It’s no wonder then that the Bible talks about faith throughout. Not only is it a cornerstone of Christianity itself, it’s also an idea that is imprinted in those people who wrote the Bible, as well as its early readers.
Below, I will explore what the Bible tells us about what faith really is, what it captures for Christians, what it does, and what faith can mean to you.
What faith is
In his letter to the Hebrews, Paul explicitly discusses the topic of faith. In chapter 11 he lays out the ways God’s people have shown faith throughout the Old Testament. He shows the faith of Abraham, Noah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, and many other familiar names.
But before he does all that, he captures in a simple sentence what faith is.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1)
Here, Paul explains; faith is not hope itself, it’s the substance of things hoped for. And aside from that, the evidence of things not seen.
What faith captures for Christians
So what then is the substance of things hoped for? What is that belief that is so strong, it moves and shakes the world? The essence of all that is captured by John, whose 16th verse in the 3rd chapter of his gospel is so famous, it made its way into the title of a country song (or at least one):
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
This quote also shows the interesting dynamic between faith and belief. Faith is believing without a doubt that Jesus died for your sins, and that believing this is the only way to eternal salvation. When everything else is taken from Christianity, that’s the core substance.
What faith does
We see faith at work in the Bible many times. Especially in the gospels (the books that describe Jesus’ life on earth), a lot of people are saved through their belief that Jesus can save them. One example is the blind man Jesus meets in Mark 10:
So Jesus answered and said to him, “What do you want Me to do for you?”
The blind man said to Him, “Rabboni, that I may receive my sight.”
Then Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus on the road. (Mark 10:51-52)
The man so strongly believes that Jesus can save him (and restore his sight), that the faith itself is enough to do so. Other examples of this include the paralyzed man in Matthew 9:2 and the woman with the possessed daughter in Matthew 15:28.
What faith means to you
Because the whole Christian belief boils down to faith, faith always ends up being very personal, too. In Romans 10:9, Paul underlines why faith is important:
“if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
It’s the salvation part that is important. If faith, hope, and love are the cornerstones of the Christian identity, it’s faith that saves you.
Jesus also expresses this, right before he raises his friend Lazarus from the death. Lazarus’ sister comes to him, grieving because her brother died four days earlier. For the first time, Jesus exposes himself as the Messiah who controls life and death.
Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
She said to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” (John 11:23-27)
Faith and Grace
Faith is one of the core principles of Christianity. And while sometimes it almost seems impossible to have the faith that is talked about in the Bible verses above, there’s also a lot of comfort in the Bible when the topic of faith seems overwhelming. Ephesians 2:8 says:
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.”
Be comforted in the knowledge that it is not your own faith that saves you, but God’s grace.