What does Protestantism say? I have heard don't make your bible decisions on your feelings, use your brain, have faith. Am I to understand faith is not a feeling nor an emotion?

I looked here and here and nothing. I found love and hope but not faith.

It's kinda like a follow up question to Which scriptures (if any) are cited by proponents of the 'don't go on feelings' teaching?

  • 2
    What is the basis for faith not being an emotion or feeling? The definition.
    – Flimzy
    Mar 29 '14 at 22:37
  • A better question would be "What is the basis for disregarding the definition of a word and thinking it means something else?"
    – Flimzy
    Mar 29 '14 at 22:37
  • Seems to be more of an English.SE question than one about Christianity
    – warren
    Apr 3 '14 at 15:51
  • "hope" and "love" are also not mere emotions or feelings - they are actions, just as faith is
    – warren
    Apr 3 '14 at 15:51

In general, what you've heard is similar to a widely held perspective within Protestantism. From Luther:

“Feelings come and feelings go, And feelings are deceiving; My warrant is the Word of God-- Naught else is worth believing.

This highlights though, that our faith should be based on the Word of God - not on our own thinking. It is entirely possible for our thoughts to be as fickle and deceiving as our emotions, for instance according to Proverbs 14:12:

There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.

and we can be:

always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. - 2 Timothy 3:7

If overly emphasized, (poor statements of) this doctrine can lead some to downplay the role of emotions in the life of the believer to the extant of ignoring them as a legitimate part of life and undermining any fulfilment of the great commandment

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. - Deutoronomy 6:5

and has in all probability contributed to the rise of reactionary movements within Protestantism such as Pietism, Revivalism, Methodism and Pentecostalism - so by no means do Protestants speak with a unified voice on this issue.

A relevant article on this subject is found at:


with further response articles to it linked from that page

  • oh great, "not on our own thinking". It sounds a lot better than "dont go on your feeling". Thanks for clarifying. Mar 31 '14 at 0:36
  • Thank God, He is doing the thinking for me, I'm dumb as a wit. Even when I am in error because I do not know the Scriptures nor the power of God, Matthew 22:29 Mar 31 '14 at 0:42
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    It's not that we throw thinking out the window - we still need to take thinking seriously as that's part of fulfilling the great commandment, just that our thinking should be subject to God's word - if there is somehow a conflict, faith leads us to trust God's word over our own understanding. Similarly for our emotions - if something feels right/wrong but that feeling conflicts with God's word, faith will again lead us to make our feelings subject to the will of God. Mar 31 '14 at 3:34

I suppose it depends on if faith is being defined as belief in facts or as trust in a person or loyalty to a person. Really, in true faith there are all three aspects. Faith cannot be based only on emotion, for you must know certain facts, that Jesus is the Son of God, that he was crucified, died, was burried, and rose again on the third day. But you also must trust in him, and be loyal to him. So its all involved.

I think, therefore, when people say faith must be logical rather than emotional, they mean faith as regards praxis, as regards belief in how to live, how to worship, how to observe communion, how to "do church," how to baptize, etc.

One big verse cited by those saying this would be Ephesians 4:14 (Although it doesn't actually mention emotions):

That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

At this link there is an article replete with verses being used http://www.gospelway.com/bible/emotions.php Some quotes from it:

Romans 10:17 - "Faith comes from hearing and hearing by the Word of God." Faith does not come by feelings or by praying for emotional experiences.

Psalms 119:105 - "God's word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path." The Bible (not feelings) shows to us the proper way to go. (Cf. Psalm 19:7-11.)

Acts 17:11 - To know whether or not some teaching is true, we should search the Scriptures daily, not pray for an emotional experience.

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