A Series on What does Faith Mean
1. The account of Abram in Genesis 15:6
is referenced three times in the New Testament
Gal 3:6 and
What is this verse revealing about Abram’s faith, and how does this help us understand the concept of faith?
It is important to note that Abram’s faith began at an earlier point
This passage indicates that the faith of Abram is ready to accept the rich promises of God; the word of
God is now Abram’s security and base. God treats this trust of Abram as behavior appropriate to the covenant
relationship. The unconditional Abrahamic Covenant was the result of Abram’s faith which was declared "righteous,"
and God changes Abram’s name ("father is exalted") to Abraham ("father of multitude")
Abraham is considered a great example of faith
because he trusted the divine promises which he personally saw only partially fulfilled. Because of Abraham’s
trust of the unseen, God identified Himself as "the God of Abraham"
and Abraham became known as "God’s friend forever"
(2 Chron 20:7).
2. In the preceding example, Abraham based his faith on a promise of the future
and without any miracle(s) that would confirm the divine source. In contrast study
and examine how God responds to Moses’ fear of his people questioning the authority of his leadership of
redemption from Egypt. What do you learn about faith here?
For those Hebrews who question Moses’ authority, God promises three miracles that Moses
could use to confirm that he was sent by God to free his people from the tyranny of Pharaoh
In this instance, the faith of the Hebrew was based on divine evidence that authenticated
Moses as being sent by God for the mission of redeeming His people from the Egyptians
Faith was based on miracles that they could see and experience. Salvation from Egypt was only possible through
faith in the tangible God and His word through His emissary Moses.
Faith takes on a more concrete basis as the promises of Abraham become assurance for future
generations (Ex 32:13;
3. Study 2 Kings 16:1-14;
Isaiah 7:1-12 and
Who is King Ahaz and what is happening here? Examine the faith of the prophet Isaiah; what do you discover?
As king of Judah, Ahaz was an evil king who practiced heinous idolatry worship rituals as
kings of Israel including the sacrifice of his own son and worshipping in high places
(2 Kings 16:3-4, 11).
At this moment, Ahaz, king of Judah is being threatened by the alliance of Rezin, king of Syria and Pekah, king
of Israel (Isa 7:1-2).
For this crisis, God calls on the prophet Isaiah to advise Ahaz
With regard to faith, Isaiah’s advice to Ahaz is clear, "If you will not believe, you surely
shall not last" (Isa 7:9).
Isaiah is explicit; faith involves an intellectual and volitional response to revelation.
With regard to his personal faith, Isaiah says, "I will wait for the Lord who is hiding His
face from the house of Jacob; I will even look eagerly for Him"
The grammatical tense of his statement is directed towards the future.
In this coming crisis, Isaiah exhibits a believing trust in God. Faith is the way of deliverance
but based on a future beyond the disaster.
4. The book of Habakkuk is unique for its record of the prophet dialoguing with God. Why do the evil prosper
and the righteous suffer? The future of the nation of Judah was being threatened by the army of Babylon, which
God sent as judgment. In response to Habakkuk’s pleas, God promises that the righteous will survive. God’s response
in Habakkuk 2:4
is quoted by the Apostle Paul in three instances
Heb 10:38-39). Examine
Habakkuk 2:2-4 and try to understand what God was saying about
In response to Habakkuk’s complaint of Babylon, God reveals a prophecy that will occur with
certainty at its appointed time. God contrasts the conceited character of the "proud" Babylonians with the
"righteous" in Judah who live by faith.
The contrast is revealing, the faithful Hebrew lives a humble life of obedience and trust in
God. While much of the faith in the Old Testament was concerned with the physical salvation of the righteous
remnant of Israel, there is an emphasis on the personal development of faith, a living and believing trust in
God. Furthermore, as faith was grounded in the historical divine events and promises of the past, the focus was
on the future.
This concept is carried over into the New Testament.
In Romans 1:16-17,
Paul evangelizes with the Gospel and reiterates the historical priority of first coming to the Jew and then to
the Gentile. Living by faith in Jesus Christ reflects the trust that Christians have in Christ as the way to
live, according to God’s word, and with the assurance of salvation.
In Galatians 3:11,
Paul emphasizes that salvation is based on faith in Christ, contrary to the former legal adherence to the Mosaic
Law, which was not the basis of justification before God.
In Hebrews 10:38-39,
Paul uses a contrast much like God did in Habakkuk. The righteous are those who draw closer to the source of
their faith; those who are not righteous "shrink back" from God and towards destruction. The contrast serves
to encourage Believers to persevere and be determined in their faith.
1. Brown C, ed., The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, vol. 3,
Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, (1979).
2. Harris RL, Archer Jr GL, and Waltke BK., Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament,
Chicago: Moody Press, (1980).