Date written: January 29th, 2002
Scripture ref: Heb. 11:1, 6
SUBJECT: Fundamentals Bible Class -- Lesson 1
TITLE: The Meaning of Faith
PROPOSITION: To clarify the Biblical doctrine of faith as it relates to knowledge.
OBJECTIVES: The student should be able to state the meaning of Biblical faith and provide at least one scripture reference in which faith and knowledge are used together to describe the same object.
AIM: To provide a foundation for discussion in this series of fundamentals by defining the term "faith" and to show how that term has been misused and how to use it properly.
1. Read: Heb. 11:1, 6
2. About Heb. 11:1
1) "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." KJV
2) "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, a conviction of things not seen." ASV
3) "Faith is confidence as to things hoped for; conviction as to things not seen." Edward Robinson
4) One the one hand, faith provides assurance of things hoped for--things in the future.
5) One the other hand, faith provides conviction as to things not seen--past and future.
6) How can our faith be an assurance, or a confidence to us?
7) How can faith provide conviction for us?
3. About Heb. 11:6:
1) To be pleasing to God we must have faith.
2) We must believe that "God Is." What are we saying when we say we believe that God exists?
3) We must believe that he will reward those that diligently seek Him. What are we saying when we say that we believe that he will reward those who seek him?
4) What is the difference between the two statements?
4. A brief note regarding the word's "faith" and "belief."
1) Both words come from the same Greek root, "pistis".
2) They are used interchangeably in the New Testament.
3) What is the significance of the term, "faith," or "belief?"
5. Ref. to S, T, P, O, and A.
DISCUSSION: Regarding the concepts of Faith and Knowledge in the Bible we must understand . . .
I. Faith is not exclusive of knowledge.
1. This is perhaps the most misunderstood area of the concept of faith today. Perhaps you have heard statements such as:
1) "Faith is not a form of knowledge." Fragments
2) "Faith begins precisely where thinking leaves off." Fear and Trembling
3) "These arguments take you down to this point . . . but from there on you have to proceed upon the basis of faith. There is no way to really know."
4) "The evolutionist has a faith and I have a faith. I happen to believe that my faith is the more reasonable faith."
5) "In those situations where it is not possible to know complete and absolute truth--in those situations which involve faith--it is better to take the path of hope than the path of fear."
6) To believe something, one must take a "Leap of faith."
7) "If you know something, then you cannot believe it."
2. What does 2 Corinthians 5:7 mean?
1) Review 2 Corinthians 5:1 "For we know . . . ."
2) Does sight exclude faith?
3) What about Thomas? John 20:29a Faith after sight.
4) Where do we stand now? Faith without sight.
5) Where will we stand in heaven? (1 John 3:2). Sight after faith.
3. Does faith exclude knowledge?
1) Jesus said that we must know Him and His Truth. John 17:3, John 8:32
2) Those who heard Jesus teach believed and knew who he was. John 4:42
3) The apostles believed and knew who Jesus was. John 6:69
4) The writers of the New Testament were certain. Luke 1:3,4
5) Paul told Timothy that we could believe and know the truth. 1 Timothy 4:1-3
6) We can be certain as well. 1 John 5:13, 20.
7) Salvation is predicated upon receiving a knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:4
4. How can we believe and know today without first hand information?
1) Consider Mark 16:9-14
2) Consider John 20:29-31
5. What about believing in heaven?
1) Faith is based upon evidence (Rom.10:17).
2) Then my faith becomes evidence (Heb.11:1) for heaven.
II. Saving Faith is not Equivalent with Knowledge
1. Faith involves putting our trust in God.
1) It means acknowledging God as our only standard in life (Proverbs 3:5,6).
2) It means that even though all external factors appear to be opposite of what God says, we will still rely upon God (Romans 4:19-22).
2. Faith involves acting upon the knowledge and trust that we have in God.
1) It means being obedient to God even in the face of the severest challenge (Heb.11:7-10, 17-19, 23-31).
2) It means carrying out a lifestyle of living that daily glorifies God (Matt.5:13-16).
1. We have primarily looked at faith and knowledge.
1) The concept of faith and knowledge are not mutually exclusive.
2) The concept of faith, however, is not equivalent with knowledge.
3) 2 Timothy 1:12 " For which cause I suffer also these things: yet I am not ashamed; for I know him whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to guard that which I have committed unto him against that day."