A Bible Study of Faith
Posted by adventbiblestudy on April 20, 2009
What is faith? Can you give a definition of faith? Can you quote a Bible verse summing up faith? Many people will quote Hebrews 11:1. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” For study purposes this text can be broken down to three facet
Faith has substance. Faith must be something you can experience with the senses. Can you see, hear and feel your faith? Can you reach out an touch it? Have you ever heard someone say, “my faith is concrete” or, “as solid as a rock”? People use these solid substances to describe a faith they not only live but experience.
Faith is hoped for. This is where most people remain on their walk of faith. This relates to most definitions of faith I receive. Many people define faith as a mysterious entity. Something one can not easily put into words. This is the first phase of faith. As we will see, the Bible tells us, faith is a substance that must grow.
Faith has evidence. The Bible specifically states faith is, “the evidence of things not seen.” Does this mean faith is mysterious? What does the Bible teach about a mystery?
And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. KJV Ephesians 6:19, Ephesians 1:9, Ephesians 3:9, Colossians 1:26-28, Colossians 2:2, 1 Timothy 3:9
The Bible makes it clear, as saints we are to know this mystery. Not only are we to know this mystery, we are to be secure enough in our faith we are confident to share it with others. The slow growth of the church is evident too many members are stuck on phase one of faith which is being satisfied in the thinking, faith is a mystery not meant to be understood.
Faith is a substance with a life cycle much like a plant. We cannot experience the entire life cycle of a plant until we plant the seed. We will not know if it will sprout in three days or six weeks until we experience that particular phase. As a plant begins to grow, adding leaves, the stem and branches turn from a whimsical and pliable green to a sturdy brown limb. We will not be able to experience the full beauty of the plant until it flowers. Some plants may flower for weeks while others can take years, only to flower for a single day. We can only experience this when we patiently wait for the cycle to complete. Even after experiencing the complete life cycle of a plant, there are still mysteries that cannot be explained easily.
KJV Matthew 6:30. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
Our faith must grow. We may not be able to witness or explain the efforts a plant puts into growth, but the Bible explains each step necessary for the spiritual growth of our faith.
When we look at the word faith in the Bible a pattern emerges showing three basic phases of faith. The first phase is described as a gift from God. The second phase of faith is a knowledge and an increased knowledge, which is very important to maintain an increased knowledge of faith. The Bible is very clear in explaining this process. The third phase is not less important than the first two and is termed as an ability to share your faith with others.
Once experiencing the three phases of faith, one can easily see how these phases work together in a geometric pattern of growth. As your understanding increases you are better able to share. As you share your gift from God increases, you become filled with a deep desire for additional knowledge. Faith is a perpetual motion.
The following proof text are divided into the three phases of faith.
A gift from God
KJV 1 Corinthians 12:8. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; 9. To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
KJV Ephesians 2:8. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
KJV Habakkuk 2: 4. Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.
KJV Romans 1:17. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
KJV Romans 3:22. Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23. For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
KJV Romans 4:20. He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; 21. And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.
KJV Romans 5:1. Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2. By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
KJV Romans 12:3. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
KJV Galatians 2:20. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
KJV Galatians 3:26. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
KJV Philippians 3:9. And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
The Bible clearly defines faith as a belief in righteousness through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, a gift from God. This of course is the first phase of faith. Without belief in Christ and His sacrifice there is no hope, no knowledge, no motivation, no growth. Faith is a gift given only by God, through His Son. How can one have faith without knowledge? Can anyone truly accept the free gift of salvation without knowing the giver? Can anyone believe in the gift of salvation without a knowledge of Christ and the sacrifice? Can faith exist without knowledge? Can faith increase without an increase in knowledge?
Knowledge and increased knowledge
KJV 2 Timothy 3:15. And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17. That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
KJV James 1:3. Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. 5. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
KJV Ephesians 3:16. That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 17. That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18. May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19. And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
KJV Ephesians 4:12. For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13. Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14. That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15. But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
KJV Acts 6:7. And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.
KJV Romans 1:16. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
KJV Romans 3:24. Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25. Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
KJV Romans 10:16. But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? 17. So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. 18. But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.
KJV Romans 16:26. But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: 27. To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen.
KJV 2 Timothy 3:10. But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience,
KJV 1 Corinthians 4:1. Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.
KJV Colossians 1:22. In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: 23. If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;
KJV 1 Corinthians 2: 4. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the spirit and of power: 5. That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. 6. Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:
KJV Colossians 2:7. Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. 8. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
KJV 1 Timothy 4:1. Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2. Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
Faith comes by hearing and knowing through the word of God. This is the second phase of faith. The scriptures tells us we are to increase in the knowledge of faith. We are, “to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” This knowledge is for “the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” to form unity within the body of Christ. Through knowledge we become obedient to the faith. The word of God gives us power to understand and hold fast to the promise of salvation. We are meant to be “stewards of the mysteries of God.”
The gift of faith from God leads us into knowledge to understand the mysteries of God, so we stand fast and are rooted, prepared for our hour of temptation. We are not to be tossed around by every enticing word spoken to us in man’s wisdom. We are to have the wisdom to discern the spirits and stand in the power of God and not be lead away by seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils. Faith come with a promise and a warning.
KJV Acts 14:27. And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.
KJV Romans 3: 26. To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. 27. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. 28. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
KJV Romans 10:8. But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
KJV Philippians 1:27. Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
KJV 1 Timothy 2:7. Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.
KJV 2 Timothy 2:2. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. 3. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
KJV Hebrews 13:7. Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.
When one establishes knowledge in the word of God, they become equipped to share their knowledge and experience. The Bible contains numerous text showing us, faith is meant to be shared. A gift only becomes a gift when it is given to another. Otherwise it remains a possession. Faith cannot mature until it is shared. Faith cannot be fully experienced until it is shared. There is no motivation to learn, until it is shared. Wisdom is the use of knowledge. Faith is sharing that knowledge.
The scriptures show us one other interesting aspect of faith. As we study the word faith throughout the Bible we cannot help but see a connection between faith and healing repeated within the gospels.
KJV Matthew 8:10. When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.
KJV Matthew 9:22. But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.
KJV Matthew 9:29. Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you.
30. And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See that no man know it.
KJV Matthew 15:28. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.
KJV Luke 5:20. And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.
Two interesting aspects can be gathered from these text. In each of the text the word faith can be substituted with the word knowledge without altering the meaning or spirit of the text. The healing powers came through Christ, even so, faith played an important part.