BibleFacts

Faith of God?

On Cults
In recent times some have tried to state that, since in Mark 11:22 the phrase "have faith in God" is literally "faith of God," in the Greek, that this means instead of trusting in what God will do for you, you should develop your own faith power in order to positively confess things you want. This is an error.

The following verses show clearly that the Greek uses the genitive tense ("of God" or "of Christ") in different ways. So no one should even begin to think that this verse means we must have God's faith/power to do things on our own.

 

Mark 11:22 Jesus answered them, "Have faith in God." ( Ecete pistin qeou,) "faith of God" (NRSV)
Historic Christianity has always taught that "faith in God" is trusting in God for everything. Why then in Greek does it say "faith of God"?

Habakkuk 2:4 "But the righteous live by their faith." (NRSV) In Hebrew the "construct" form is used to put words together like faith and God and can be translated in, by, of, on, ect. depending on the context. The phrase was always translated into Greek as "faith of God" and then this became a Greek idiom.
The following are examples of the Semitic construct state influence:

Acts 22:3 "I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, educated strictly according to our ancestral law, being zealous for God, (zhlwthV uparcwn tou qeou) "zeal of God" (NRSV) Paul took this "zeal of God" and wrongly used it to persecute the church. Obviously it was not the zeal that God had.

Romans 10:2 "I can testify that they have a zeal for God, (zhlon qeou) ["zeal of God"] but it is not enlightened." (NRSV) The "zeal of God" must be translated "zeal for God." How could you have the same zeal that God has and work against him?

Acts 10:2 "He was a devout man who feared God with all his household; he gave alms generously to the people and prayed constantly to God." (deomenoV tou qeou) "prayer of God" (NRSV)

Luke 6:12 "Now during those days he went out to the mountain to pray; and he spent the night in prayer to God." (proseuch tou qeou) "prayer of God" (NRSV) This must be translated "to God" because God the Father is the object of prayer and He Himself prays to no one.

Revelation 14:12 "This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God's commandments and remain faithful to Jesus." (thn pistin Ihsou) "faith of Jesus" (NIV) In this case we are to "keep the faith" or continue trusting Jesus for everything.

Other verses that have this Semitic construct state influence are:

2 Corinthians 11:2 "I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. (qeou zhlw) ["zeal of God"] I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him." (NIV)

1 Timothy 2:5 "For there is one God; there is also one mediator between God (mesithV qeou) ["mediator of God"] and humankind, Christ Jesus, Himself human." (NRSV)

2 Corinthians 5:20 "So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God (wV tou qeou) ["as of God"] is making His appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God." (NRSV)

1 Corinthians 3:23 "and you belong to Christ (de Cristou) ["of Christ"], and Christ belongs to God." (de qeou) "of God" (NRSV)

 

The phrase "faith of God" should always be translated faith in God, and be understood that it means trusting in Jesus, not some magical power that by positive confession you can create your own reality!

Faith is defined as "A belief in or confident attitude toward God, involving commitment to His will for one’s life. True faith is confidence in God or Christ, not in oneself."
(from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary)(Copyright (C) 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)


 
www.biblefacts.org Date: 9-1994