How Does the New Testament Define Faith:
Now that we've taken a brief look at the Hebrew and Greek words contained in
these early Bible manuscripts...let's look at how the Bible itself defines the
concept of faith.
The Book of Hebrews:
We will first begin with the book of Hebrews in the New Testament. The
inspired writer of Hebrews tells us a significant amount about faith...and gives
specific examples of men and women of faith.
The book was written to the Jews, also referred to as the Israelites or the children of
Israel...or the Hebrews (Hebrew is the native language of the Jews).
Hearing vs. Faith & Obedience:
The writer of Hebrews first introduces the word "faith" by giving an example of
the Jews. Unfortunately in this first example given by the writer of
Hebrews, it was when they were disobedient. When the Israelites came out of Egypt, being led by God
and Moses, they provoked God by their unbelief and disobedience:
who provoked Him when they had heard? Indeed, did not all those who came
out of Egypt led by Moses? And with whom was He angry for forty years?
Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? And
to whom did He swear that they should not enter His rest, but to those who were
disobedient? And so we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief." Hebrews 3:16-19 (NAS)
The writer of Hebrews then speaks of faith comparing the Israelites
in the wilderness... to the Christians at that time:
let us fear lest, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you
should seem to have come short of it. For indeed we have had good news
preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them,
because it was not united by faith in those who heard." Hebrews 4:1-2
Hebrews 4:1-2 says that the word of God did not profit those whom Moses led
out of Egypt. The Israelites "sinned"...they were
"disobedient"...they were not able to enter the promised land because of this
"unbelief" (Hebrews 3:16-19). According to Hebrews 4:1-2 above, why did
this good news of the promised land not profit the Israelites?