Faith "in" Christ vs. Faith "of" Christ.

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by 12strings, Feb 15, 2012.

  1. 12strings

    12strings
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  2. gb93433

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    That issue cannot be solved by grammar alone. Context gives a lot of clues in determining the correct interpretation.

    The verses I looked at where the words are used are prepositional phrases.

    Wallace states the key for identifying an objective gen., "A simpler and foolproof method is to supply for the word of the words for, about, concerning, toward, or sometimes against." (P. 117)
     
  3. Van

    Van
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    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 five 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 helps to gain access to God’s righteousness which was made available through Christ’s faithfulness, His sinless obedience to God’s will, including laying down His life on the cross.

    In Romans 3:26, the ending of the verse usually reads “…who has faith in Jesus.” Actually the Greek reads “…the one of the faith of Jesus.” So the idea here is to up the ante, and indicate our faith must be “of” the same kind of faithful faith as Jesus displayed.
    When Paul uses the word “faith” he is referring to faithful faith, the live faith of James and not the dead faith of James.

    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.

    In Galatians 3:22, we find “promise through faith in Jesus Christ” but would better rendered “promise through Jesus Christ’s faithfulness.”

    In Philippians 3:9 we again find “through faith in Christ” but would be better rendered as “through Christ’s faithfulness.”
     
  4. gb93433

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    One cannot interpret scripture apart from its historical and literary context. The Bible is a collection of writings that is not homogenous. It was written over a long time period by different authors to different people addressing different issues. A number of words were replaced by others. Each writing (book) must be dealt with on its own. When interpreting salvation in 1 Peter which only uses the future tense you cannot use the same meaning Paul uses when he uses salvation in three tenses.
     
  5. percho

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    And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid: and the children of Israel cried out unto the LORD. And they said unto Moses, Because [there were] no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? [Is] not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For [it had been] better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.

    And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land [that is] not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years;
    Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, [was] four hundred and thirty years.


    Heb 11:29 By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry [land]: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.



    Van whose faith/faithfulness was this verse in Hebrews 11 speaking of especially in light of this verse - Heb 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of the faith;
     
  6. kyredneck

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    Yuck. It sounds like reading the scriptures would be a dry experience for you. To me there is an incredible underlying continuity that runs throughout the entire Bible, all 66 books. The Old has to be interpreted from the New, then it all fits. But don't get me wrong, I haven't 'fitted' it all either. Doubt if it could be done in fifty lifetimes.
     
    #6 kyredneck, Feb 15, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 15, 2012
  7. gb93433

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    It was dry and caused me to ask many questions for which I found a lot of ignorance among many I asked. My life was frustrated by the lack of answer and ignorance I found among so many. When I began to understand the historical and literary context the scripture came alive.
    Not everything fits together because there are different contexts and purposes in books of the Bible. You cannot interpret letters as narratives. Once you understand the historical and literary context the rest is usually easy. Once you understand what apocryphal literature is and how it was the same language used in the intertestamental literature you see how men like Hal Lindsey are full of nonsense. Having a knowledge of the context of scripture keeps one from being led like a dog on a leach by anyone who comes along and sound persuasive. For example if you understand what a disciple was in the context of Judaism you will understand why when Jesus called His disciples they immediately followed Him.
     
  8. Forest

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    The King James version, which is the only that I will use, states "faith of Christ", in Gal 2:16,3:22, Phil 3:9. The translators that are swayed in their minds that man has something to do for eternal salvation have changed the "OF" to "IN", which makes it their faith instead of Christ's faith.
     
  9. kyredneck

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    ...and that about sums it up for me too Forest.
     
  10. 12strings

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    I see some good points on both sides. I definitly do not have the Greek expertise to make a final call on this one, except I know enought to know that The "faith of Christ" is definitly the most literal...but the first link there make a good case for Christ being the object of faith. It is also possible that it is talking about the "faith OF Christ" that is in us, ie, the Faith God grants to us (Philippians 1:29, 1 Cor. 4:7)

    However, I believe the Romans 3 passage is important here because the context makes it clear that even if those specific phrases are referring to the "faith OF Christ", correctly drawing attention to the fact that it is Christ who is faithful, not us... there is still the aspect of the belief and faith of the individual in receiving the righteousness of Christ, as the bolded portions, especially the middle one, show:

     
  11. gb93433

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    The difference is if one makes it a subjective or objective genitive.

    Did Christ put his faith in anything or anyone? Seems to me that we are to put our faith in Him. Which means he is the object of our faith.
     
  12. Van

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    Hi Forest

    Not sure if you have a reading comprehension problem, or just like to misrepresent me, but my view for those three verses (Gal 2:16, 3:22 and Phil 3:9) was Christ's faithfulness, which makes the faithfulness in view an act of Christ and not of us. However many other verses indicate God requires that we trust in Him.

    I did not address Mark 11:22, which the KJV translates have faith in God. But I agree, this Greek construction, is not genitive genitive and therefore should be translated to require that we trust in Him.
     
    #12 Van, Feb 16, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 16, 2012
  13. DaChaser1

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    Think the way to see this might be due to the failthfulness of jesus todo in full his atoning work, we need to place our faith in that work and in him and receive salvation!
     

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