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End Notes

02.5.4

The edition that I will be using is the 1940, non-copyrighted version in PDF format.  All page references will refer to the PDF page number displayed on Adobe Acrobat Reader.  The PDF text itself has no page numbers.  Pages 1-467 in the PDF is OT Hebrew.  Pages 468-1602 is the NT Greek.

Please note that only the starting point for the quote is noted.

 

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Vine, W. E.  (1940;  PDF p. 833-834).

 

pistis (πίστις, 4102), primarily, 'firm persuasion', a conviction based upon hearing (akin to peitho, 'to persuade'), is used in the N.T. always of 'faith in God or Christ, or things spiritual.'

 

The word is used of (a) trust, e.g., Rom. 3:25 [see Note (4) below];  1 Cor. 2:5;  15:14 17;  2 Cor. 1:24;  Gal. 3:23  [see Note (5) below];  Phil. 1:25;  2:17;  1 Thess. 3:2;  2 Thess. 1:3;  3:2;  (b) trust-worthiness, e.g., Matt. 23:23;  Rom. 3:3,  RV, “the faithfulness of God”;  Gal. 5:22 (RV, “faithfulness”);  Titus 2:10, “fidelity”;  (c) by metonymy, what is believed, the contents of belief, the “faith,” Acts 6:7;  14:22;  Gal. 1:23;  3:25 [contrast 3:23, under (a)];  6:10;  Phil. 1:27;  1 Thess. 3:10;  Jude 3, 20 (and perhaps 2 Thess. 3:2);  (d) a ground for “faith,” an assurance, Acts 17:31 (not as in KJV, marg., “offered faith”);  (e) a pledge of fidelity, plighted “faith,” 1 Tim. 5:12.

 

The main elements in 'faith' in its relation to the invisible God, as distinct from 'faith' in man, are especially brought out in the use of this noun and the corresponding verb, pisteuo; they are (1) a firm conviction, producing a full acknowledgement (sic) of God's revelation or truth, e.g., 2 Thess. 2:11, 12;  (2) a personal surrender to Him, John 1:12;  (3) a conduct inspired by such surrender, 2 Cor. 5:7.  Prominence is given to one or other of these elements according to the context.  All this stands in contrast to belief in its purely natural exercise, which consists of an opinion held in good 'faith' without necessary reference to its proof.  The object of Abraham's 'faith' was not God's promise (that was the occasion of its exercise);  his 'faith' rested on God Himself, Rom. 4:17, 20, 21.  See ASSURANCE, BELIEF, FAITHFULNESS, FIDELITY.

 

Notes: (1) In Heb. 10:23, elpis, “hope,” is mistranslated “faith” in the KJV (RV, “hope”).  (2) In Acts 6:8 the most authentic mss. have charis, “grace,” RV, for pistis, “faith.”  (3) In Rom. 3:3, RV, apistia, is rendered “want of faith,” for KJV, “unbelief” (so translated elsewhere).  See UNBELIEF.  The verb apisteo in that verse is rendered “were without faith,” RV, for KJV, “did not believe.”  (4) In Rom. 3:25, the KJV wrongly links “faith” with “in His blood,” as if “faith” is reposed in the blood (i.e., the death) of Christ;  the en is instrumental;  “faith” rests in the living Person;  hence the RV rightly puts a comma after “through faith,” and renders the next phrase “by His blood,” which is to be connected with “a propitiation.” Christ became a propitiation through His blood (i.e., His death in expiatory sacrifice for sin).  (5) In Gal. 3:23, though the article stands before “faith” in the original, “faith” is here to be taken as under (a) above, and as in v. 22, and not as under (c), “the faith”;  the article is simply that of renewed mention.  (6) For the difference between the teaching of Paul and that of James, on “faith” and works, see :  Notes on Galatians by Hogg and Vine, pp. 117-119.

 

 

My Response to Vine

 

Vine's primary definition of Faith/pistis/πίστις is:  "a firm persuasion, a conviction based upon hearing."

 

Note that Vine draws a distinction between Faith in God vs. a general Faith in man.  He characterizes Faith in God as including:  "1)  a firm conviction, producing a full acknowledgment of God's revelation or truth, 2)  a personal surrender to Him, and 3)  conduct inspired by such surrender."  As we discovered, Weiser's analysis of Faith in the OT produced just such a listing of components.  Not quite the same, but close.

 

We summarized Weiser's position by noting that the Hebrew understanding included:  1) an awareness of what is being said, 2) confirmation that what was said was true or real, and 3) one's total involvement in relationship with what was being said.

 

What are the implications of this, apparent, parallel?  It seems only reasonable to consider Vine's description of 'religious' Faith as a parallel to Weiser's understanding of the Hebrew approach to understanding.  On the other hand, note that Vine includes, as part of his broad definition of Faith, the contrast between the 'religious faith' above and what he calls the 'faith in man' or faith's 'purely natural exercise'.  Could it be that this second, 'natural' faith would be congruent with the Greek understanding of faith (πίστις) as described in my Reaction to Weiser?  Vine defines this 'natural faith' as:  'an opinion held in good faith without necessary reference to its proof.'

 

In reading this 'natural' definition I'm struck by it's broadness.  For example:  I think blue flowers are the best.  That is an opinion.   I don't think that is what Vine is talking about.  So, what is he talking about?  Which 'opinions' are being referred to?  I note that this definition is found as a part of his entry for Faith.  Then he uses 'faith' as part of his definition of 'faith'.  Circular, no?  I might reword his definition as:  'a positive opinion regarding the character of other persons held without necessary reference to its proof.'

 

Note that Bultmann (Kittle  Vol. VI, p. 175, l. 40) states flatly that, for the Classical Greek, "πίστις means a. (abstr.) 'confidence,' 'trust'."  Notice that neither of these 'non-religious' approaches to Faith include the Hebrew understanding of Faith in relationship.  Thus, Bultmann's description of the Greek usage sounds somewhat similar to the 'natural' faith described by Vine.

 

Thus, considering Vine in light of Weiser, we find parallels between them.  Weiser goes further in describing the OT understanding of Faith, but Bultmann's understanding of the Classical Greek word πίστις parallels Vine's 'non-religious' faith.  Clearly Vine produces the bifurcated definitions needed to reflect the Greek and Hebrew understandings of Faith, but he does not label them as such.  Weiser and Bultmann do.  It seems that Vine's later effort to describe the core of Faith would generally tend to support the earlier work of Weiser and Bultmann.

 

Notice also that Vine seems to lean toward a Credence-based understanding of Faith.  Note that he stresses the believer's 'conviction' producing an 'acknowledgment' of 'truth', all oriented toward the cognitive, as opposed to the affective.  He goes on to describe 'natural' Faith as an 'opinion', also a cognitive construct.  This cognitive-based approach also appeared in the work of Weiser.

 

This page revised and Copyrighted: Theon Doxazo

14 December, 2023