Something I’ve been thinking about recently is the word “pisteuw” which we bring into English as our word “believe”. Last week I was in conversation with an elderly man who is an elder in his local church and a true, life-long Christian. During the course of the conversation I commented that our English word “belief” doesn’t capture well what ”pisteuw” means because in the west we tend to think of belief as head knowledge and not as “trust”. So, when Jesus says we are to believe and be saved, he isn’t primarily saying we are to accept his words at face value as head knowledge but that instead we are to place our total trust in him and in his words. It’s the trust that saves us, although obviously the two aren’t mutually exclusive because we can’t trust something we don’t rationally know about. The man I was talking to was completely taken aback, saying he’d never had anyone say that to him before. So, since that conversation, I have been wondering whether I was wrong to emphasise the more relational, trusting aspect of belief? Is mere belief enough to initially save and then the trust comes as a secondary development?
So my question is, do you feel it is instinctive for people to equate belief with trust? I’m just curious to know how you all go about explaining the concept of “belief” to seekers, and would be really interested to learn from your experience as to the most fruitful way to explain this concept.
Thank you in anticipation!