According to Heb. 11:1-5 (D-R):

Now faith is the substance of things to be hoped for, the evidence of things that appear not.

Does the Bible offer what may be considered to be a definition of faith elsewhere in either the New Testament or the Old Testament?

  • I offer a non-Biblical definition. Faith is trust (directed towards God). Sep 25 at 19:40
  • 2
    The question has answered itself by quoting a biblical definition of faith. One can see further 'definitions' (or they may be called'descriptions') of faith 'elsewhere' and these can be found with the help of a concordance. I don't see the need for a question simply to find texts in the bible.
    – Nigel J
    Sep 25 at 20:21
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    @nigel What I have quoted in Hebrews contains implications of faith which are not part of any logical definition. The first sentence can be considered a definition. But I want to know if what may resemble a definition is also found elsewhere in Scripture. Not all definitions are of equal clarity from the perspective of the reader.
    – DDS
    Sep 25 at 20:28
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    The following verses aren't relevant to what you're asking, so they should be removed. And then your question would seem like a non sequitur. So please edit this to clarify why you need more than the definition found in Hebrews 11:1. (Of course many basic words aren't defined in the Bible. We can consult Biblical dictionaries to see if there are aspects of the Hebrew/Greek word that don't carry across to English, but in this case I'm not aware of anything that doesn't get conveyed by faith/trust.)
    – curiousdannii
    Sep 25 at 21:27

1 Answer 1


Defintion(s) of Faith in the Bible?

The definition could be steadfastness, trustfulness and faithfulness. As a noun it could mean belief. Scriptures also give us more possibilities of what the term could mean.


The meaning of the word

In the Old Testament, the Hebrew means essentially steadfastness, cf. Exodus 17:12, where it is used to describe the strengthening of Moses' hands; hence it comes to mean faithfulness, whether of God towards man (Deuteronomy 32:4) or of man towards God (Psalm 118:30). As signifying man's attitude towards God it means trustfulness or fiducia. It would, however, be illogical to conclude that the word cannot, and does not, mean belief or faith in the Old Testament for it is clear that we cannot put trust in a person's promises without previously assenting to or believing in that person's claim to such confidence. Hence even if it could be proved that the Hebrew does not in itself contain the notion of belief, it must necessarily presuppose it. But that the word does itself contain the notion of belief is clear from the use of the radical, which in the causative conjugation, or Hiph'il, means "to believe", e.g. Genesis 15:6, and Deuteronomy 1:32, in which latter passage the two meanings — viz. of believing and of trusting — are combined. That the noun itself often means faith or belief, is clear from Habakkuk 2:4, where the context demands it. The witness of the Septuagint is decisive; they render the verb by pisteuo, and the noun by pistis; and here again the two factors, faith and trust, are connoted by the same term. But that even in classical Greek pisteuo was used to signify believe, is clear from Euripides (Helene, 710), logois d'emoisi pisteuson tade, and that pistis could mean "belief" is shown by the same dramatist's theon d'ouketi pistis arage (Medea, 414; cf. Hipp., 1007). In the New Testament the meanings "to believe" and "belief", for pisteon and pistis, come to the fore; in Christ's speech, pistis frequently means "trust", but also "belief" (cf. Matthew 8:10). In Acts it is used objectively of the tenets of the Christians, but is often to be rendered "belief" (cf. 17:31; 20:21; 26:8). In Romans 14:23, it has the meaning of "conscience" — "all that is not of faith is sin" — but the Apostle repeatedly uses it in the sense of "belief" (cf. Romans 4 and Galatians 3). How necessary it is to point this out will be evident to all who are familiar with modern theological literature; thus, when a writer in the "Hibbert Journal", Oct., 1907, says, "From one end of the Scripture to the other, faith is trust and only trust", it is hard to see how he would explain 1 Corinthians 13:13, and Hebrews 11:1. The truth is that many theological writers of the present day are given to very loose thinking, and in nothing is this so evident as in their treatment of faith.

  • Thank you for this answer.
    – DDS
    Sep 26 at 3:22

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