Faithful Faith The Greek word transliterated “pistis” is usually translated faith, but some translations in some verses translate the same word as “faithfulness.” And in these cases, the context seems decisive to the translators, the attribute in view seems to be continuous adherence to a set of requirements. When translators seek to transfer the meanings of a word into a word in another language, a problem arises if the original language being translated has words that sometimes convey an idea that can best be translated as a phrase. I think “pistis” is such a word, with the meaning in Greek being faithful faith, or a faith from which flows faithfulness. A second problem is that it is not always clear whose faith is in view, so when we see “faith Christ” in the Greek, we can translate it, faith of Christ or Christ’s faith on the one hand, and faith in Christ on the other. Now there are lots of verses that read “faith in (en) Christ, with the idea that it is our faith in Christ which is in view, but I think sometimes where the connector is implied, translations misconstrue the idea of the original text. If God did not keep His promises, or if Christ was unreliable, it would make no sense to put our trust in God and His Christ. On the other hand, if God keeps His promises, and Christ is faithful, then we can wholeheartedly trust in the gospel. So the message of some verses or parts of verses might be Christ’s faithfulness, rather than our faith in Christ, where the connector is implied. This in no way negates or diminishes Paul’s message that we are saved by grace through our faith in Christ, but it does shift the focus of some verses from “our faith” to “Christ’s faithfulness,” such that He is glorified to a greater degree in the text. And in the same vein, because of Christ’s faithfulness, He is sometimes referred to metaphorically as “faith” as in “when faith appeared.” The noun “pistis” appears more than 240 times in the New Testament, with the vast majority of them conveying the idea of “faithful faith” a one time commitment from which flows, with God’s help, faithfulness. However, a number of times, it appears that the resulting attribute (faithfulness) is in view in light of the context. Lets look at some of these examples: Matthew 23:23 (ESV) "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.” Here we see the on going attribute of tithing contrasted with the on going attributes of justice, mercy, and “faithful faith” or faithfulness. Romans 3:3 (NASB), “What then? If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it?” Here we see the attribute of some men, unbelief, contrasted with the on going attribute of God’s “faithful faith” or faithfulness. Galatians 5:22 (NIV), “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness….” Here we see the on going attribute of “faithful faith” or faithfulness as the fruit of our indwelt Holy Spirit. Hence the on going attribute of faithfulness is sustained, at least in part, by our indwelt Holy Spirit. Now lets turn to more controversial verses, where translations differ significantly from what might be closer to Paul’s intended message. Again, neither the Greek grammar, nor the contexts of these texts are decisive, but both the grammar and the context seems to suggest these alternate renderings of the text. Romans 3:22 (NASB) “[the righteousness of God has been manifested] even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction;” If we look at the phrase “faith in Jesus Christ” we see in the Greek no connector, no “en” but simply that faith and Jesus and Christ are all in the genitive case. Thus, other translations (YLT and the KJV) render the same construction, “faith of Jesus Christ.” What I suggest is the actual idea Paul had in mind is “Christ’s faithful faith or faithfulness.” Hence, I offer the possible translation, “even the righteousness of God through Jesus Christ’s faithfulness for all those who believe; for there is no distinction.” This rendering places more glory upon Jesus Christ, is consistent with the grammar, and does not detract from the idea that our belief in Christ gains us access to God’s righteousness which was made available through Christ’s faithfulness, His sinless obedience to God’s will, even unto death on the cross. Galatians 2:16 (NASB), “nevertheless, knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified.” Here we see the phrase “in Christ” three times with two of them missing Paul’s idea in my opinion. Here is my alternate rendering: “nevertheless, knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law, but through Christ’s faithfulness, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by Christ’s faithfulness, and not by works of the Law, since by the works of the Law, shall no flesh be justified.” I think this was Paul’s actual message. Here are the other verses where I think many translations miss Paul's actual message: Romans 3:26, Galatians 2:20, Galatians 3:33, and Philippians 3:9. So the problem is this, I am no scholar and yet groups of very well studied men, according to me, have missed Paul's message. And that seems unlikely to me.