The Gospel of John and "believing" and the original language


I’ve read somewhere that the Greek that is translated to believe is more like being faithful? Can anyone corroberate this?


[quote=Genesis315]I’ve read somewhere that the Greek that is translated to believe is more like being faithful? Can anyone corroberate this?

Yes, I’ve heard it’s closer in meaning to “allegiance.”


The original Greek word is piseuo which means: to think to be true, to be persuaded of, to credit, place confidence in.

However, St. John seems to imply more than mere mental ascent. He seems to equate believing in the Son with obeying the Son, as he sets not obeying the Son in opposition to believing in the Son: “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God rests upon him.” (John 3:36)

In his book, St. John’s Gospel: A Bible Study Guide and Commentary, Ignatius Press, 2002, on page 47-48, author Stephen K. Ray writes about the word “believe”:In the New Testament, “believe” is often used as a synecdoche. A synecdoche is a part that represents the whole (as in “head of cattle”, where the word “head” is a synecdoche for the whole). When you order a hot dog, the waiter does not just serve you a plain hot dog; he also brings a bun, condiments, a plate, and so on. “Hot dog” can be a synecdoche for the whole meal. “Believe” and “receive” are synecdoches, words that represent all that is included and necessary to “be saved” and follow Christ. Mere belief—mental ascent—is not enough (cf. Jas 2:18-26). Belief includes faith, obedience, following Christ, taking up our cross, confessing his Name, repentance, baptism, and so on. The idea of being saved by “faith only”—when understood as not including the elements just mentioned—is an unbiblical misunderstanding of biblical language.


Wow, Todd, I’ve really never heard any of that synecdoche business about faith before. It might come in useful if my Baptist preacher brother-in-law (really a great man, but very convinced of his version of the faith) ever finds out that I’m going through RCIA. :eek:


Hello Genesis,

Jesus defines faith and belief in Him as obedience to Him. Jesus tells us it is those who do what He tells them to do who believe in Him and will enter into heaven. Those who claim to believe Jesus is Lord, yet do evil, will be damned.

Please visit Believe

NAB JOH 12:44
Jesus proclaimed aloud: “Whoever puts faith in me believes not so much in me as in him who sent me; and whoever looks on me is seeing him who sent me. I have come to the world as its light, to keep anyone who **believes **in me from remaining in the dark. If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I am not the one to condemn him, for I did not come to condemn the world but to save it. Whoever rejects me and does not accept my words already has his judge, namely, the word I have spoken it is that which will condemn him on the last day. For I have not spoken on my own; no, the Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to speak. Since I know that his commandment means eternal life, whatever I say is spoken just as he instructed me.” NAB MAT 7:21

"None of those who cry out, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of God but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. When that day comes, many will plead with me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ have we not prophesied in your name? have we not exorcized demons by its power? Did we not do many miracles in your name as well? Then I will declare to them solemnly, I never knew you. Out of my sight, you evildoers!"

"Anyone who hears my words and puts them into practice is like the wise man who built his house on rock. When the rainy season set in, the torrents came and the winds blew and buffeted his house, It did not collapse; it had been solidly set on rock. Anyone who hears my words but does not put them into practice is like the foolish man who built his house on sandy ground. The rains fell, the torrents came, the winds blew and lashed against his house. It collapsed under all this and was completely ruined."

NAB LUK 6:43
"A good tree does not produce decayed fruit any more than a decayed tree produces good fruit. Each tree is known by its yield. Figs are not taken from thornbushes, nor grapes picked from brambles. A good man produces goodness from the good in his heart; an evil man produces evil out of his store of evil. Each man speaks from his heart’s abundance. Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’ and not put into practice what I teach you?"


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