Why is the Book of John not called the Book of Believe?

(Jimmy Sellers) #1

The book of John is one of my favorite books. John 6:28-29 is a go to verse for me when I get tempted to help God along as he ministers to the this lost world. I will post it here with the comment that it was Michael Ramsden who drove home the truth of this verse.

28 So they said to him, “What shall we do that we can accomplish the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God: that you believe in the one whom that one sent.”
(Jn 6:28–29)

It was during this study that I found out that the word faith is not used in the book of John. I found that amazing that the Holy Spirit would inspire a book that described Jesus in all his glory and only use the word believe as it pertained to the deity of Messiah.

Just as a reminded if you do a word lookup for faith:


“0” results

Same search with believe:


“98” results
If you contrast this to Paul’s emphasis on faith it causes you to wonder why the difference?
I am certainly not setting up some theological show down here I am just wondering why? Has anyone else ever wonder why?

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(Matt Western) #2

I suppose the question is: What would be the difference between belief and faith from practical terms?

I suppose to dig deeper the Greek words may help, and I can only use Strong’s concordance as I don’t know Greek. :slight_smile:

Faith https://biblehub.com/greek/4102.htm
Belief https://biblehub.com/greek/4100.htm

Interesting that under ‘pistas’ (Faith), it lists belief as a synonym.
under ‘pisteuó’ (Believe) it’s root word is from faith.

Yes, I love the book of John too: and he writes his intention for writing the whole book in 20:31-32 “these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.”

Also, the verse you quoted, was Jesus response to those that were just following him for the food they had eaten. Aren’t we just like that too, I know I am. ‘What’s in it for me?’

I like Andy Stanley’s messages because they are nice and practical, and in his current series on ‘Bystander’ he talks about what we might do in the presence of someone really important. Do we just want something out of them, or do we stop and ask questions of them.

Just a few thoughts… :slight_smile:

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(Jimmy Sellers) #3

The part of that verse that struck me was “what must we do to do the works of God?” That speaks to my inter helper as if I could do those works.:grinning:
And Jesus said “obey the 10 commandments, follow the Torah to the letter ….”, no this is not what he said, he said believe, In whom? in the one (Jesus) whom that one (God) sent. This One is the same one whose work you want to do. How liberating is that?

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(Matt Western) #4

It is very liberating - reminds me of John Lennox concluding testimony during his recent debate with Peter Atkins;

… the gurus cannot guarantee acceptance at the final judgment.
Christianity is not a religion for a very simple reason; In Christianity the acceptance comes at the beginning , not the end. This is the spectacular difference between Christianity and religion, I’ve not reached the final judgement, but I know that I’m accepted; Why? because I’m very good? No no no, it’s because of what Christ has done, the absolute essence of what it is to be a Christian, that I have trusted Him, and what he did on the Cross… because of what He did there I can be accepted at the Beginning of the journey…

(just under the thread 100% sure of salvation if interested) Being 100% Sure Of Salvation

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(Melvin Greene) #5

Wow! You just blew my mind, @Jimmy_Sellers!

I never realized that the word “faith” was not used in the book of John. According to Dictionary. com, faith is belief not based on proof. Believe is to have confidence in the truth, the existence, or the reliability in something, although without absolute proof that one is right in doing so. My guess would be that in the book of John, Jesus is there in the flesh and the disciples and people physically saw the works of Christ. In Paul’s writing Jesus was not there physically so maybe the word “faith” would be more appropriate. I don’t know. What do you think?

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(Jimmy Sellers) #6

I do believe that you are on to something. :grinning:

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(Melvin Greene) #7

As I continue to dwell on this, other things start coming to mind. First, I believe that you can’t have faith without doubt. No matter how assured and strong our faith is, there’s going to be some hint, some shadow of “what if?” that is there just within our peripheral, some form of doubt. That’s just our corrupted nature. I’m reminded of a phrase, I think from an old hymn titled, “It Is Well”, that says, “When faith becomes sight”. Obviously, this is referring to when we are in heaven and we are before the throne worshiping the great and eternal God. There will be no more doubt.

Second, after saying all this, the disciples faith must have become certainty after they saw Jesus when he was resurrected. Even Thomas said, “My Lord, and my God!”. So, maybe in the slight differences between belief, (or believe) and faith, this is what was implied.

I leave you with this verse: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1. ESV

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(Nathan Griffin) #8

Hi All,
Great stuff!! Love where this thread took me in scripture and prayer. Perhaps the best renderings of pisteuo in the sense of the will would be “commit” or “trust”. Maybe semantics is important in the transfer of meaning from the content creator to the content consumer. Would it be fair to say John didn’t actually believe in the Son of GOD? Does John trust in the Son GOD? Does John commit to the Son of GOD? Believe vs Trust…Some would say that is just semantics. My response would be… EXACTLY. Maybe some of you have done a common team building exercise before. My question would be. Is it called a believe fall? Or is it called a trust fall. :raised_hands::raised_hands:. What If we started sharing with people,
I don’t believe in Jesus, I Trust in Jesus? :man_shrugging:

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(Matt Western) #9

@Melvin_Greene it’s interesting that one of the definitions of faith is not based on evidence.

I have heard people say, oh i have faith in the goodness of humanity. Is this not blind faith without evidence also? Look at humanity’s history, the evidence seems to contradict this ‘faith in humanity’ to a certain extent. Any faith/believe/trust should always be based on evidence. This is the problem, some Christians may turn off their brain at the door of the church, and ignore questions that bother them. How do you grow if you don’t learn more, or more particularly are not interested in learning more? This is why I like John Lennox’s books, he tackles this head on; the new atheists claim that faith is blind and against evidence or even regardless of evidence against.

I do like your point, about Jesus being there in the flesh right in front of them in the Gospels, as opposed to faith being ‘not by sight’. As Jesus said to doubting Thomas, you have believed because you have seen, blessed are those that have not seen (with their eyes) and yet believe. Jesus didn’t ditch Thomas out of the disciples/apostles because he had some doubts, perhaps his questions and his attitudes were genuine and humble towards God and he was shattered that Jesus had died, when they were looking for an earthly Messiah.

@nathangriffin81 i like your thinking, for me I would say I believe Who Jesus said he was (God in the flesh), and I trust that he will keep his promises (salvation), because of where I have placed my faith (in his finished work on the Cross and his ressurection as proof/evidence of Who He was). :slight_smile: as Jimmy says, liberating!

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(Nathan Griffin) #10

Hi Matt,

Semantics. :wink:. Proof of who He is… not was!

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(Melvin Greene) #11

I would just like to clarify that faith, in particular our faith in Jesus Christ, may not be based on proof, but is definitely based on evidence, at lease in part. Proof is a mathematical term like 2+2=4. That’s an undeniable mathematical certainty. Evidence is something that points to, or leads to belief in something else. I believe that our faith is a most reasonable faith that has plenty of evidence to support that faith. If we had undeniable proof of God’s existence, there would be no need for faith.

I felt the need to say this because reading through this conversation thread I thought there might be that misunderstanding. :smiley:

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(Nathan Griffin) #12

Good points-

What would your thoughts be on certain translations of verses in scripture that use “proof” in them? For instance Acts 17:31
because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead." Is a false dilemma created by doing so? Is assurance a better word than proof for not only the person trusting in God but maybe the one seeking as well?

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(Jimmy Sellers) #13

If we consider the audience (Epicureans and Stoics) I think that is safe to understand this “proof” as the first step to believe.
As we finish the chapter we see three responses not for me, interesting will come back to that and I “believe”.
My thoughts.

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(Melvin Greene) #14

Very interesting, @nathangriffin81!

I looked up a translation that used the word “proof”, one of which is called the “Literal Translation Of The English Bible”. I also looked up the meaning of “proof” and I find that word to be fitting for that passage of scripture. Proof as being defined as, “evidence sufficient to establish a thing as true…”, seems fitting to me in what Paul was talking about. Your point is well taken!

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