The Hebrew meaning of Faith

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The Hebrew meaning of Faith

#1

Post by B. W. » Thu Apr 11, 2013 11:12 pm

After reading the quote below, what Jesus said about faith in Mark 11 makes sense...
Biblical Word of the Month - Faith
By: Jeff A. Benner
From this link: http://www.ancient-hebrew.org/emagazine/014.pdf

Behold, he whose soul is not upright in him shall fail, but the righteous shall live by his faith. (Habakkuk 2:4 - ASV)

What does it mean to have "faith" from an Hebraic perspective? In our western minds faith is a mental exercise in knowing that someone or something exists or will act. For instance, if we say "I have faith in God" we are saying "I know that God exists and do what he says he will do".

The Hebrew word for faith is אמונה (emunah - Strong's #530) and is an action oriented word meaning "support". This is important because the Western concept of faith places the action on the one you have faith in, such as "faith in God". But, the Hebrew word אמונה places the action on the one who "supports God". It is not a knowing that God will act, but rather I will do what I can to support God. This idea of support for the word emunah can be seen in Exodus 17:12.

"But Moses' hands grew weary; so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat upon it, and Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; so his hands were steady (emunah)until the going down of the sun."

It is the support/emunah of Aaron and Hur that held of Moses' arms, not the support/emunah of Moses. When we say "I have faith in God", we should be thinking "I will do what I can to support God".
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Re: The Hebrew meaning of Faith

#2

Post by Silvertusk » Fri Apr 12, 2013 2:59 am

Well that changes things a bit doesn't it.

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Re: The Hebrew meaning of Faith

#3

Post by RickD » Fri Apr 12, 2013 3:57 am

Sorry B. W. I ain't buyin it.

I'd need more convincing on that one. If I were to believe that, then I would be relying on myself for faith, instead of having faith in God who doesn't change. I can't rely on my sinful self for faith.

I think I'll stick with having faith in One who is true.
Unless of course there's more to the story....
John 5:24
24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

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Re: The Hebrew meaning of Faith

#4

Post by RickD » Fri Apr 12, 2013 6:13 am

Apparently this Jeff A Benner guy may believe the New Testament was originally written in Hebrew. That makes me a little weary of anything he says. I will do a little research on him when I get a chance.
John 5:24
24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

Kenny wrote:
"You don’t need faith, logic, reason, proof, or anything else to be atheist, all you need to do is reject what someone told you."



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Re: The Hebrew meaning of Faith

#5

Post by PaulSacramento » Fri Apr 12, 2013 9:26 am

I think it is important to understand that there wasn't a uniform Hebrew religion during the 2nd temple of Jesus' time.
We have the Pharisees, Sadducee, Zealots, Essences and, quite possible, more minor off shots.
We know that the Pharisees and Sadducee did NOT agree on some core doctrinal issues ( resurrection, angels, life after death, etc).
I think it is probably naive to think that the different Hebrew interpretations viewed faith all the same way too.

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Re: The Hebrew meaning of Faith

#6

Post by jlay » Fri Apr 12, 2013 10:15 am

Not to mention that at the writing of the NT, the Jews were pretty Hellenized.

There is actually a book about the Diasporia that argues that the Hebrew people were Hellenized earlier than we tend to think. There is a reason the OT was translated into Greek about 200 B.C. (LXX)


BW,
what do you mean by what Jesus said in Mark 11. How does this make sense of what Jesus said about faith.

"And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. (Mark 11:22-24)
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Re: The Hebrew meaning of Faith

#7

Post by B. W. » Fri Apr 12, 2013 11:08 am

jlay wrote:Not to mention that at the writing of the NT, the Jews were pretty Hellenized.

There is actually a book about the Diasporia that argues that the Hebrew people were Hellenized earlier than we tend to think. There is a reason the OT was translated into Greek about 200 B.C. (LXX)


BW,
what do you mean by what Jesus said in Mark 11. How does this make sense of what Jesus said about faith.

"And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. (Mark 11:22-24)
Yes, that are the verses I was alluding too. As for Faithing - believe - to imply Supporting God would fit what John wrote in 1 John 5:14 NKJV, "Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us."

Jesus in Mark 11 was referring to the obstacle to God located upon the temple mount that he came from as the context of the chapter flows. That had to be removed to support God's will to be fulfilled, and hence, faithing, involves supporting God's will to carry on what he wants done upon this earth in our own current time.

Much of what is taught on Mark 11 verses appears to miss the point 1 John 5:14 brings out about asking... in exchange - it is our will that does the asking for God to perform for us, not that we support God's will. Reviewing Benner's work - he appears to be suggesting that Faith is twofold - believing God so that we can be God's hands and feet on earth doing God's will - is what his idea of Supporting God appears to me to mean.

Next, AMG Dictionary of OT words defines Faith ’emûnāh this way that might support this:
’emûnāh: A noun meaning truth, faithfulness. It is used to describe God's character and His actions in Deut 32:4. The psalmists often use this word in their praise of the Lord and His faithfulness (Psalms 33:4; Psalms 100:5; Psalms 119:90). When people are faithful, good comes their way ( 2 Ch 19:9; Prov 12:22; Prov 28:20). The word ’emûnāh is also used with righteousness to describe the character (Prov 12:17; Isa 59:4; Jer 5:1).
Other OT dictionaries define the word, ’emûnāh, as follows: firm steadfastness, fidelity, faithfulness, honesty, responsibility, loyalty, stability, trust, truth, a persuaded commitment... which denotes action associated with what one has faith in.

I think this is a rather interesting take on the concept of faith in the OT that helps gain insight into the Greek usages of faith/believe.

There maybe something we are missing in our understanding of such verses as Mark 11 verses cited and 1 John 5:14...

What do you all think?
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Re: The Hebrew meaning of Faith

#8

Post by PaulSacramento » Fri Apr 12, 2013 11:46 am

I think that faith means different things to different people NOW and THEN.
To some the only true faith is "blind faith", while to others the worse possible faith is "blind faith".
I think that when we have faith in someone, we are having it in THEM AND in US and our ability to stand by them because of our faith in them.

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Re: The Hebrew meaning of Faith

#9

Post by Furstentum Liechtenstein » Fri Apr 12, 2013 2:12 pm

That is a most bizarre exegesis of Ex 17:12!

Here is the note I wrote into my Bible next to Ex 17:12,

Ex 17:8-13, in times of trials, it may be necessary to use artificial means to keep the Word of God strong in my life. Moses' arms being propped up is a picture of this.

So, I'm with RickD,
RickD wrote:Sorry B. W. I ain't buyin it.

I'd need more convincing on that one. If I were to believe that, then I would be relying on myself for faith, instead of having faith in God who doesn't change. I can't rely on my sinful self for faith.

I think I'll stick with having faith in One who is true.
Unless of course there's more to the story....
To those of you who are attracted to Benner's interpretation, ''Why does this speak to you?''

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Re: The Hebrew meaning of Faith

#10

Post by kmr » Fri Apr 12, 2013 2:28 pm

It's a stretch, but from my perspective looking at this term used in context in the New Testament doesn't really cause that much variation. After all, simply knowing that Christ died for us isn't enough to invoke salvation -- even the demons know, says the Bible. It is from the act of accepting God's grace that this comes: both an act of "faith" and an act of "support".
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Re: The Hebrew meaning of Faith

#11

Post by jlay » Fri Apr 12, 2013 2:40 pm

PaulSacramento wrote:I think that faith means different things to different people NOW and THEN.
To some the only true faith is "blind faith", while to others the worse possible faith is "blind faith".
I think that when we have faith in someone, we are having it in THEM AND in US and our ability to stand by them because of our faith in them.
Sure Paul, but that isn't the issue. The Bible says what it means and means what it says. Since faith is the means by which God has prescribed salvation, then our thinking needs to come in line with what the text communicates. If faith is some arbitrary thing, then that means that salvation is also arbitrary.

Let's just insert 'support' into the text to see what happens.

"And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have support in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not 'lack support' in his heart, but shall support that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, have support that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. (Mark 11:22-24)

Honestly, I'm just trying to fully understand what is being proposed. I'm not advocating the position but I woudn't be quite as hasty to dismiss. I've been doing a lengthy study and writing on the issue of saving faith, so I'm game for the discussion. I think it's important. Afterall, a very large portion of Christendom doesn't even view faith(saving faith) as an inherent capability of man. But as a sort of commodity, dispensed by God to some and witheld from others. Sovereignly of course.
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"I'm not saying scientists don't overstate their results. They do. And it's understandable, too...If you spend years working toward a certain goal and make no progress, of course you are going to spin your results in a positive light." Ivellious

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Re: The Hebrew meaning of Faith

#12

Post by B. W. » Sat Apr 13, 2013 12:44 am

Here is what Vines Expository Dictionary of OT Word says about 'emunah:
Vines wrote:Faith, Faithfulness

A. Noun.
'emunah (530), "faithfulness." This word occurs in Punic as emanethi ("certainty"). In the Hebrew Old Testament, the noun occurs 49 times, mainly in the Book of Psalms (22 times). The first occurrence of the word refers to Moses' hands: "But Moses' hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun" (Exodus 17:12).

The basic meaning of 'emunah is "certainty" and "faithfulness." Man may show himself "faithful" in his relations with his fellow men (1 Sa 26:23). But generally, the Person to whom one is "faithful" is the Lord Himself: "And he charged them, saying, Thus shall ye do in the fear of the Lord, faithfully, and with a perfect heart" (2 Ch 19:9). The Lord has manifested His "faithfulness" to His people: "He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he" (Deut 32:4). All his works reveal his "faithfulness" (Psalms 33:4). His commandments are an expression of his "faithfulness" (Psalms 119:86); those who seek them are found on the road of "faithfulness": "I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me" (Psa119:30).

The Lord looks for those who seek to do His will with all their hearts. Their ways are established and His blessing rests on them: "A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent" (Prov 28:20). The assurance of the abundance of life is in the expression quoted in the New Testament (Rom 1:17; Gal 3:11) from Hab 2:4 : "Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith."

The word 'emunah is synonymous with tsedeq ("righteousness"—cf. Isa 11:5), with chesed ("lovingkindness"—cf. Psalms 98:3 NASB), and with mishpat ("justice" cf. Jer 5:1).

The relationship between God and Israel is best described by the word hesed ("love"); but as a synonym, 'emunah fits very well. Hosea portrays God's relation to Israel as a marriage and states God's promise of "faithfulness" to Israel: "And I will betroth thee unto me forever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in loving-kindness, and in mercies. I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt [acknowledge] the Lord" (Hosea 2:19-20). In these verses, the words "righteousness," "judgment" ("justice"), "loving-kindness," "mercies," and "faithfulness" bear out the conclusion that the synonyms for 'emunah are covenantal terms expressive of God's "faithfulness" and "love." The assurance of the covenant and the promises is established by God's nature; He is "faithful."

Man's acts (Prov 12:22) and speech (Prov 12:17) must reflect his favored status with God. As in the marriage relationship, "faithfulness" is not optional. For the relation to be established, the two parties are required to respond to each other in "faithfulness." Isaiah and Jeremiah condemn the people for not being "faithful" to God: "Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek in the broad places thereof, if ye can find a man, if there be any that executeth judgment, that seeketh the truth; and I will pardon [this city]" (Je r5:1; cf. Isa 59:4; Jer 7:28; Jer 9:3).

Faithfulness will be established in the messianic era (Isa 11:5). The prophetic expectation was fulfilled in Jesus Christ, as his contemporaries witnessed in Him God's grace (cf. checed) and truth (cf. 'emunah): "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him" (John 1:18). It is significant that John puts these two terms side by side, even as they are found together in the Old Testament.

The Septuagint translations are: aletheia ("truthfulness; dependability; uprightness; truth; reality") and pistos ("trustworthy; faithfulnessreliability; rest; confidence; faith"). The KJV gives these translations: "faithfulness; truth; set office; faithfully; faithful. "
There are many different usages of this word in the OT. The one that seems to apply and correlate to Mark 11:22 from Vines is this comment: The Lord looks for those who seek to do His will with all their hearts.

As for Benner, I think that is the idea he is trying to convey by indicating that Faith ‘supports’ God’s will – holds it up.

Let’s look at the Greek text:

Mar 11:22 καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς λέγει αὐτοῖς· ἔχετε πίστιν Θεοῦ.

Look at the Greek words – verb (Have) is imperitive mood, Faith is in the Accusative case, and God is in the Genative case:

ἔχετε (imperative) πίστιν Accusative (motion toward) Θεου (Genative)

You might hypothetically read Mark 11:22 like this: "You must have Faith towards supporting God’s {will} (God’s will: note God possesses a sovereign Will and hence God is used in text in the genative case here to denote something that God possesses)

Let’s look at this further: Jesus exercised this kind of faith when cursing the fig tree. To gain a better idea on what Jesus was conveying in Mark 11, I think we should note the context of the chapter as it helps uncover the meaning of faith that Jesus speaks of in verse 22. For example, Mark 11:1-10 describes Jesus entry into Jerusalem as Zech 9:9 states. Then Jesus went where – to the Temple (Mark 11:11) late.

Next day Jesus cursed the fig tree, Mark 11:12-14. In Mark 11:15-19, Jesus chased the money changers out of the temple according to God’s sovereign will mentioned in Jeremiah 7:11 and Isaiah 56:7. After that, Jesus and the disciples left the temple mount and went by the cursed fig tree as Mark 11:20 says. Here, Peter marveled at the withered fig tree and Jesus explains to those around how he did what he did to that fig tree. This is the point that folks miss. Many interpret that this describes 'a' kind of faith that strains itself silly not to doubt in order get ones gets from God.

I propose that instead, Jesus, was in one accord with God the Father’s sovereign will as Hosea 9:7, 8, 9, 10 and Jeremiah 8:13 expresses (note Jeremiah 8:8, 9, 10, 11, 12c too) about Israel’s fathers being found like a fig tree in its first season (bad fruit). Jesus was in full support upholding God’s sovereign will and that temple mount was removed approx 40 years later in 70 AD.

Mark 11:22-26, "And Jesus answered saying to them, "Have faith in God. 23 "Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him. 24 "Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you. 25 "Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions. 26 ["But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions." NASB

Here is a hypothesis: Jesus was revealing, as Vine’s points out “ those who seek to do His will with all their hearts,” can do God’s will. Was it not reconciliation and forgiveness for them that return to him God’s will? Notice verses 25 and 26 how seemingly out of place these verses first appear but what did Jesus say upon the cross?

We look at the power and how to wield power of faith for our own world and will. Jesus’ words are not for that purpose. Here he divides those that seek such wielding from those who seek to do the Lord’s will. None of us can do God’s will in our own strength but we as believers do have the Holy Spirit residing within us, to teach us that will, and guide us in His work. Are we not who’s body on earth?

Conclusion:

It was God’s will to remove the Temple system and replace it with a New Covenant. Jesus did just that. That Temple system was an obstacle to the healing of nations God’s sovereign will seeks. Read what Jesus said in Luke 4:18-19 with Isaiah 61:1, 2, 3, 4 to discover what God’s will is and why Jesus said in Mark 11:17 God’s intent mentioned in:

Isaiah 56:7,8 "…these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations." 8 The Sovereign LORD declares-- he who gathers the exiles of Israel: "I will gather still others to them besides those already gathered." NIV

A den of thieves was preventing this. In the Temple area, Jesus overturned the tables and chased folks out of the Temple, which reflects God's will brought out in Hosea 9:10 and Jer 8:13. Jesus cursed the fig tree in prophetic proxy because 'forgiveness' was not yet offered to all, to accept or reject, because Jesus' work on the cross was not yet completed at that moment. Jesus, therefore, acted in full compliance with God the Father's will cursing the fig tree.

As it is written, the Lord test the sons of men … read Psalms 11:4, 5, 6, 7

Psalms 14:2 "The LORD looks down from heaven upon the children of men, To see if there are any who understand, who seek God. 3 They have all turned aside, They have together become corrupt; There is none who does good, No, not one." NKJV

The Lord forgives those that believe as John 3:16 says…

So the question comes – do we desire to support God’s will where we have been assigned? How then, shall we pray and ask?

Reference verses concerning God's will:

Eph 5:1, 2 - Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. NKJV

NIrV Version below help understand God's will...

Rom 12:1 Brothers and sisters, God has shown you his mercy. So I am asking you to offer up your bodies to him while you are still alive. Your bodies are a holy sacrifice that is pleasing to God. When you offer your bodies to God, you are worshiping him. 2 Don't live any longer the way this world lives. Let your way of thinking be completely changed. Then you will be able to test what God wants for you. And you will agree that what he wants is right. His plan is good and pleasing and perfect.

Rom 12:3 God's grace has been given to me. So here is what I say to every one of you. Don't think of yourself more highly than you should. Be reasonable when you think about yourself. Keep in mind the amount of faith God has given you. 4 Each of us has one body with many parts. And the parts do not all have the same purpose. 5 So also we are many persons. But in Christ we are one body. And each part of the body belongs to all the other parts. 6 We all have gifts. They differ in keeping with the grace that God has given each of us. Do you have the gift of prophecy? Then use it in keeping with the faith you have. 7 Is it your gift to serve? Then serve. Is it teaching? Then teach. 8 Is it telling others how they should live? Then tell them. Is it giving to those who are in need? Then give freely. Is it being a leader? Then work hard at it. Is it showing mercy? Then do it cheerfully.

Rom 12:9 Love must be honest and true. Hate what is evil. Hold on to what is good.
Rom 12:10 Love each other deeply. Honor others more than yourselves.
Rom 12:11 Never let the fire in your heart go out. Keep it alive. Serve the Lord.


Mark 11:22-26, "And Jesus answered saying to them, "Have faith in God... 24 Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you. " NASB
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Re: The Hebrew meaning of Faith

#13

Post by B. W. » Sat Apr 13, 2013 9:39 pm

Please note: I Re-edited and added in a conclusion section for clarity in the post above...
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Re: The Hebrew meaning of Faith

#14

Post by Lemuel49 » Mon Jul 15, 2013 3:46 pm

I think people forget the reality Jesus was a Jewish Rabbi, and Paul was also. They were not romans or Greeks.Also, it seems many forget there was a nazarene sect of Judaism as late as the 4th century. They were practicing Jews. To our right say" if it is of the Jews it is bad" is error. Even Paul said the Jews had the oracles of God, and that the gifts of God were without repentance.
I do believe in God, and I believe Jesus was resurrected, and is my high priest. I also believe he did not come to destroy the law. He said so a few times. To understand that the Apostles taught you need to understand, the original Christians were practicing Jews. Even Paul went to the temple to prove this, before he was imprisoned and sent to Rome.. check acts 24.
The first believers were immersed in Jewish culture and thought. Their way of thinking was not nor is yet just abstract. They used action. Faith is not nullified if you act.If you have faith you will prove it by actions.
Faith begins with the revealed truth, expands to define it, and then is expressed in action. So, there is no contradiction. If I say I believe in Jesus and yet join a pagan sacrifice, what is seen to be my faith? Jesus of that other god? Thats what James was talking about. Can I say" yeah I believe in Jesus" and then go hate other people that sin? we are told by Jesus, and John, that if you hate your brother God is not in you. If you hate someone, that is showing you do not believe what Jesus said. If you drive by that man asking for money, and you sneer and say" that worthless person" you are not pleasing God. You are not having faith in the words where Jesus said" give to them to ask, and expect nothing in return."
As for Mark? You may say this is faith without works. But, the very fact you tell the tree to move, that is an expression, an action , of your faith. If i say I believe the tree will move because God can do anything, and do not tell it to move, I do not have faith that tree can move. Remember Jesus' words? Have faith in God for verily I say if YOU say to this tree and DO NOT DOUBT... but believe in YOUR heart what YOU say will come to pass . We are to tell the tree to move. If we believe God will move it, it will move. The faith is proven by the action of speaking.
It is important as believers, that we understand what exactly the Jews were looking for in the messiah.What they mean by salvation. Why? because the messiah was theirs, he came only to them at first. We need to understand that every writer in the nt, was a practicing Jew.That Jesus was a Jewish rabbi. He never taught anything against Gods law. If he had he would have sinned, since the Jewish law was the standard of righteousness.
The next question would be, what about Paul saying we are not under the law? let no man judge you? he was talking about standards.. Example, using myself. I used to not pray without any hat. Why? because the bible says so, where it also says no long hair.. Others can pray with hats. Some even pray with long hair. They do this unto the lord. There is no real biblical command to not wear a hat when praying. That is my standard. Not yours.
God told his people not to take his name in vain. In proverbs, there is a man who asked for just enough food. He did not want to be full and forget God. He did not want to steal and take Gods name in vain. How was stealing taking HIS name in vain? If you say God will provide, and then steal, you are saying you do not really believe he will provide. If you had, you would not have stolen. I believe you can find this in proverbs chapter 31, but it may be chapter 30.
So, if you take a lawless approach to faith, you are taking Gods name in vain. Faith without works is dead. Show me your faith without any works. I will show you my faith BY my works. Show my faith, not in myself, but in the power and word of God, that it is true.

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Re: The Hebrew meaning of Faith

#15

Post by Jac3510 » Mon Jul 15, 2013 6:31 pm

Will pay more later, but in addition to what others have said, I wouldn't trust Benner. I am familiar with his work. He is absolutely not an authority and makes a lot of mistakes in his analyses. If anybody is inclined to give him any weight, I would highly encourage them to work through two books: Exegetical Fallacies by Carson and The Meaning of Biblical Words by Silva.
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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