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"In exegesis there is in fact no purely scientific procedure;
there is a choice of values." Jacques Ellul, The Subversion of
Christianity, Wm. B. Erdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, MI,
Gospel Study on Faith and Belief
όλίγοs - puny in extent, quantity, degree, or brief in
- from πείθω as defined by:
The Analytical Greek Lexicon: to persuade, seek to persuade, endeavor to
convince, to incite, to instigate, to appease, to render tranquil, to
quiet, to pacify, to conciliate, to win over, to be persuaded of, to be
confident of, to be induced, to be convinced, to believe, to yield
belief, to assent, to be assured, to be confident, to trust, to rely on,
to confide in.
Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of NT: Faith i.e. 1. conviction of the
truth of anything, belief, the substance of what is believed. 2.
Fidelity, faithfulness, i.e. the character of one who can be relied on.
Strong's Concordance: persuasion, credence, conviction of truth,
constancy, belief, faith, fidelity.
From the above three references, you can get an idea of the incredibly
wide range of translation possibilities which is actually the case in many
instances. It is for this reason that we MUST get the paradigm right, and
let the paradigm guide us in our translation.
Luke 5:18-21 Mt 9:1-3 Mk 2:3-7 And behold, men were bringing a paralytic
laid out on a cot being carried by four, and they sought to bring him in
and lay him before him. Not finding a way to bring him in through the
crowd, and going up on the housetop, they unroofed the roof and let him
down through the tiles with his cot into the midst in front of Jesus.
And when he saw their faith [πίστιν] he said to the paralytic, "Be comforted,
my son; your sins are being dismissed." And behold, some of the
theologians said to themselves, "This one blasphemes."
Matthew 6:25-30 Lk 12:22-28 "Therefore I tell you, do not be
concerned about your psyche [life pattern], what you eat or what you drink, nor
about your person, what you put on. Is not the psyche more than
food, and the person more than clothing?
"Look at the birds of the sky: they neither sow nor do they reap nor
gather into barns, and yet your heavenly father feeds them. Rather by
how much you differ from and excel them! And which of you by
being anxious can add one cubit to his stature? If then you are not
able to do such a little thing, why are you anxious about the other
things? Why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of
the field, how they grow; they labor not nor spin; yet I tell you,
not even Solomon in all his glory was clothed like these. But if God
thus clothes the grass of the field, existing today, and being thrown
tomorrow into the oven, how much more you, puny-faiths
Luke 7:1-10 Mt 8:5-13 Now a certain son, of a centurion, who was dear to
him and having illness, was about to die. Hearing about Jesus, he sent
to him elders of the Jews, asking him that he might come and heal his
son. Coming to Jesus, they begged him earnestly, saying, "He is worthy
to have you grant him this. For he loves our nation, and he built the
synagogue for us."
And Jesus went with them. With him not being far from the house, the
centurion sent friends to him, saying to him, "Sir, do not trouble
yourself. For I am not worthy that you come under my roof; therefore I
did not count myself worthy to come to you. But say in a word, and let
my son be cured. For I am a man set under authority, having soldiers
under me: and I tell one, 'Go,' and he goes, and another, 'Come,' and he
comes, and my slave, 'Do this,' and he does it."
Hearing these things Jesus marveled at him, and turning to the crowd
following him, said, "I tell you, not even in Israel did I find such
faith [πίστιν].[*] I tell you, many will come from east and west and will be
with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingship of the heavens. But the
sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness; there will
be weeping and gnashing of teeth." And to the centurion Jesus said, "Go;
since you believed, let it be done for you." And the son was healed in
that hour. Returning, those sent to the house found the son well.
Mark 4:35-41 Mt 8:23-27 Lk 8:22-25 Evening having come on that day, he
got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, "Let us cross
over to the other side." Upon dismissing the crowd, they take him along
with them in the boat. With them sailing he fell asleep. And other small
boats were with him. A storm of strong wind arose, a great shaking took
place in the sea and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was
covered by the waves and they were being filled and were in danger. But
he was in the stern, sleeping on the headrest; and they awaken him and
say to him, "Teacher, does it not matter to you that we are perishing?
Master, save, we are perishing!" Upon being awakened he said to them,
"Why are you afraid, puny-faiths [ολιγόπιστοι]?" And he rebuked the
wind and the rough water, and said to the sea, "Silence! Be still!" And
the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And the men were filled
with great awe and they marveled, and said to one another, "Who then is
this one, that he even commands the wind and the water and they obey
Mark 5:21-34 Mt 9:18-22 Lk 8:40-48 Upon Jesus crossing over again in the
boat to the other side, a big crowd was collected by him; and he was
beside the sea. And behold, one of the rulers of the synagogue comes,
Jairus by name; and seeing him, he falls at his feet, and begs him
fervently, saying, "My only born daughter of about twelve is just now at
her end, but coming, lay your hand on her so that she may be restored,
and live." Rising up, Jesus went with him. And a big crowd followed him
and pressed about him.
And a certain woman being with a flow of blood for twelve years,
suffering many things by many physicians and having spent on physicians
all her livelihood with nothing having been gained but rather having
come to the worse, hearing about Jesus and coming behind him in the
crowd, touched the hem of his garment. For she said, "If I may touch
just his garments, I will be cured." Instantly the cause of bleeding
ceased; and she felt in her body that she is healed of her problem.
And right then, Jesus, knowing within himself that out of him power had
gone forth, turning to the crowd, said, "Who touched my garments?" And
his disciples said to him, "You see the crowd pressing around you and
you say, 'Who touched me?'" And he looked around to see the one having
done this. However, the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what
happened to her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the
truth. And he said to her, "Daughter, your faith [πίστις] has healed you;* go
in peace, and be free of your problem."
Matthew 9:27-31 And with Jesus passing on from there, two blind men
followed him, crying aloud and saying, "Have pity on us, Son of David."
Entering the house, the blind men came to him, and Jesus said to them,
"Do you believe that I am able to do this?" They said to him, "Yes,
Lord." Then he touched their eyes, saying, "According to your faith [πίστιν]
let it be done to you."* And their eyes were opened, and Jesus strictly
ordered them, "See, let no one know." But going out, they spread the
word through all that region.
Matthew 14:22-33 Mk 6:45-52 Right then Jesus made the disciples get into
the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, until he
should dismiss the crowds. And having dismissed the crowds, he went up
on the mountain alone to pray. With evening coming, he was there alone.
However, the boat was now out on the sea, being tossed by the waves; for
the wind was against them. So in the fourth watch of the night Jesus
went toward them, walking on the sea. But the disciples, seeing him
walking on the sea, were distressed, saying, "It is a phantom!" And they
cried out in fear. But Jesus spoke to them at once, saying, "Be
comforted, have courage. I AM THE ONE; have no fear."
And Peter answering him said, "Sir, if you are, command me to come to
you on the water." He said, "Come." So getting out of the boat, Peter
walked on the waters, to come toward Jesus. But seeing the strong wind,
he was frightened, and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, "Lord,
save me." Jesus immediately extending his hand, caught him and says to
him, "Puny-faith [ολιγόπιστε], why did you doubt?" And while getting
into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat coming, worshiped
him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God." And they were exceedingly
amazed beyond measure in themselves, and marveled. For they did not
understand through the loaves, because their minds were hardened.
Matthew 15:21-28 Mk 7:24-30 And going away from there, Jesus withdrew to
the area of Tyre and Sidon. Entering the house, he desired no one to
know, but he could not be hidden. And behold, a Canaanite woman from
that area coming forth cried out to him, "Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of
David; my daughter is seriously demon-possessed." The woman was a Greek,
a Syrophoenician by race, and she fell at his feet. But he did not
answer her a word.
Coming near, his disciples requested of him, saying, "Send her away, for
she cries out after us." However, he responding said, "I was sent only
to the lost sheep of the house of Israel", but she coming, worshipped
him, saying, "Lord, help me." But he answering said, "It is not right to
take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs." But she said, "Yes,
Lord, yet even the dogs eat from the crumbs falling from their masters'
table." Then Jesus responding said to her, "O woman, great is your faith
[πίστις]!* Because of this expression, go, and let it be for you as you
desire. The demon has gone out from your daughter." And her daughter was
healed at that hour. And going away to her home, she found that the
demon had gone out, and the daughter was laid on the couch.
Matthew 16:5-12 Mk 8:14-21 The disciples, coming to the other side, had
forgotten to bring any bread with them, except one loaf they had with
them in the boat. Jesus said to them, "Take heed and beware of the
leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees and Herod." And they reasoned
among themselves, saying, "Because we brought no bread." But
understanding, Jesus said to them, "Why do you reason among
yourselves, puny-faiths [ολιγόπιστοι], because you took no bread? Do you not yet perceive or realize? Have you minds still hardened?
Having eyes, do you not see, and having ears, do you not hear?
"Don't you remember when I broke the five loaves to the five
thousand, how many handbaskets full of fragments you gathered? Or
the seven loaves of the four thousand, how many baskets you
gathered? How do you not perceive that I telling you to take
heed of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees was not about bread?
How do you not understand?" Then they understood that he did not
tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the
Pharisees and Sadducees.
Mark 9:14-29 Mt 17:14-21 Lk 9:37-43 Upon coming to the disciples, he saw
a great crowd about them, and theologians arguing with them. And
immediately upon seeing him, all the crowd were greatly amazed, and
running up, greeted him. So he questioned the theologians, "What are
you discussing with them?" One out of the crowd, a man, came up to
him and kneeling down to him answered him, "Teacher, I brought my son to
you. Lord, have mercy on my son, for he has a dumb spirit; he is
moonstruck, an epileptic and he suffers terribly. Wherever it seizes
him, it dashes him down and convulses him with foam and he gnashes his
teeth and wastes away. So I brought him to your disciples, but they
could not heal him; I begged your disciples that they might cast it out,
and they were not able."
He replying to them, says, "O unbelieving and perverted generation, how
long will I be with you? How long shall I endure you? Bring him
to me." So they brought the boy to him. Upon seeing Him, immediately the
spirit violently convulsed the boy; and falling on the ground, he rolled
around foaming. So Jesus questioned his father, "How long a time is it
that this has happened to him?" And he said, "From childhood. And often
it threw him both into the fire and into the water, to destroy him. But
if you can do anything, help us, have pity on us." And Jesus said to
him, "If you are able to believe, all things are possible to those
believing." Immediately crying out, the father of the child, with tears
said, "I believe, Sir; help my unbelief!"[*]
So Jesus, seeing a crowd running together, rebuked the nasty spirit,
saying to it, "You dumb and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him,
and never may you enter him again." So, crying out and severely
convulsing him, it came out; and he became as if dead, causing many to
say that he died. But Jesus, having taken him by the hand, lifted him,
and he stood up. Upon his entering a house, his disciples asked him
privately, "Why were we not able to cast it out?" And he said to them,
"Because of your unbelief. This kind can go out by nothing except prayer
and fasting. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith [πίστιν] as a
grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from
here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you." And all were astounded at the majesty of God.
Luke 11:42 Mt 23:23,24 "Woe to you, theologians and Pharisees,
hypocrites! because you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and ignore
the discernment and love of God, and you have abandoned the
weightier matters of the canon, justice and mercy and faith [πίστιν]; these
things one should do, and not abandon the others. You blind guides,
the ones straining out the gnat and swallowing the camel!
Matthew 25:14-21 "For it is as if a man going abroad called his own
servants and entrusted to them his property; to one he gave five
talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his
ability; and then went away. He receiving the five talents, going,
traded with them and he gained five other talents. Likewise, he
receiving the two talents gained two other talents. But he receiving the
one talent, going, dug in the ground and hid his master's silver. So
after a long time the master of those servants comes and takes account
with them. And coming forward, he receiving the five talents brought the
other five talents, saying, 'Master, you delivered five talents to me;
behold another five talents I gained over them.' His master said to him,
'Well done, good and faithful [πίστέ]
servant; you were faithful [πίστοs]
over a few, I will set you over many; enter into the joy of your
"And also coming forward, the one receiving the two talents said,
'Master, you delivered two talents to me; behold another two talents I
gained over them.' His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful
servant; you have been faithful over a few, I will set you over
many; enter into the joy of your master.'
Luke 16:10-12 Mt 6:24 "He faithful [πίστοs] in the least is faithful
also in much; and he false in the least is false also in much. If then
you were not faithful in the false riches, who will entrust to you the true? And if you were not faithful in that of another,
who will give to you that being your own?
Luke 17:5,6 The apostles said to the Master, "Increase our faith [πίστιν]!"
And the Master said, "If you have faith [πίστιν] as a grain of mustard, you may say to this sycamine tree, 'Be rooted up, and be planted in
the sea,' even it would obey you."
Luke 17:11-19 And it happened in his going to Jerusalem; he passed
between Samaria and Galilee. with him having entered into a certain
village, ten leprous men who stood at a distance, met him and raised
their voices and said, "Jesus, healer, pity us." Seeing, he said to
them, "Upon going, show yourselves to the priests." And it was in their
going that they were cleansed.
But one of them, seeing that he was cured, returned praising God with a
loud voice; and fell on his face at His feet, thanking Him, and he was a
Samaritan. Jesus answering said, "Were not ten cleansed? Where are the
nine? Were none found returning to give praise to God except this
foreigner?" He said to him, "Rising up, go! Your faith [πίστις] has healed
Luke 18:1-8 He also told them a parable, to show that it is always right
to pray and not faint, saying, "A certain judge was in a city, neither
fearing God nor respecting man. A widow was in that city and she came to
him saying, 'Vindicate me from my adversary.' He would not for a time;
but after this he said to himself, 'Even though I neither fear God nor
respect man, yet because this widow bothers me, I will requite her, so
that, coming, she does not brow beat me to the end.'" And the Lord said,
"Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will in no way God requite
his elect, those crying to him day and night, and continue having
patience over them? I tell you, he will requite them speedily.
However, with the Son of man passing, will he really find faith [πίστιν]
on the earth? Evidently not!"
Commentary - The last phrase question is asked in a
Greek rhetorical mode where the answer is always negative, hence the
" Evidently not!" has been inserted to give the true meaning of the
Mark 10:46-52 Mt 20:29-34 Lk 18:35-43 And they came to Jericho; and
while leaving Jericho with his disciples and a big crowd, Bartimaeus, a
blind man, the son of Timaeus, sat by the roadside, begging. And hearing
a crowd passing by, he inquired what this might be. They reported to him
that Jesus the Nazarene is passing by. Having heard that it is Jesus the
Nazarene, he began to cry out and say, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy
on me!" And those in front rebuked him, and many warned him to be quiet;
but he cried out all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" And
Jesus, stopping and standing, requested for him to be called and brought
to him. So they call the blind man, saying to him, "Cheer up; arise, he
So, casting off his cloak and rising up, he came to Jesus. And Jesus
responding, says to him, "What do you desire that I do for you?" And the
blind man said to him, "My Lord, that I may see again." So Jesus, moved
with pity, said to him, "See once again! Go, your faith [πίστις] has cured
you."[*] And instantly he saw again and followed Jesus on the way, praising
God; and all the people observing this, gave praise to God.
Luke 19:11-17 With them hearing these things, and adding, he told a
parable, because he was near to Jerusalem and they thought that the
kingship of God was about to be revealed immediately. So he said, "A
certain nobleman went to a distant country to receive a kingship for
himself and then return. Having called ten of his servants, he gave them
ten minas, and said to them, 'Trade until I come.' But his citizens
despised him and sent a delegation after him, saying, 'We don't want
this one to reign over us.' And it was in his returning, having received
the kingship, he commanded his servants to be called, those to whom he
gave the money, that he might know what each had gained by trading.
"The first came saying, 'Lord, your mina has gained ten minas.' And he
said to him, 'Very well, good servant, because you were faithful in the
least thing, have authority over ten cities.'
Mark 11:20-26 Mt 21:20-22 Passing along in the morning, they saw the fig
tree withered from the roots up. And remembering, Peter said to him,
"Teacher, look! The fig tree which you cursed has withered." Upon seeing
this, the disciples marveled, saying, "How was the fig tree withered so
quickly?" And Jesus replying, said to them, "Have faith [πίστιν] in God.
Truly, I tell you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be taken, and be
cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that
what he says happens, it will be his, whatever he says. Therefore I tell
you, all things whatever you ask praying, believe that you
receive, and it will be yours.* And whenever you stand praying,
forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that also your
Father in the heavens may dismiss your transgressions. But if you do
not forgive, neither will your father in the heavens dismiss your
Luke 12:41-46 Mt 24:45-51 Peter said to
him, "Master, do you tell this parable for us or also for all men?" And
the Master said, "Who then is the faithful [πίστόs] and prudent steward, whom his lord will appoint
over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season?
Blessed is that servant his lord will find so doing when he comes.
Truly, I say to you, he will appoint him over all his possessions.
But if that servant says to himself, 'My lord delays in coming,' and
begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants, and to both eat and
drink and get drunk, the lord of that servant will come on a day when he
does not expect and at an hour he does not know, and will separate him,
and will place his portions with the unbelievers, the hypocrites; there
will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Luke 7:36-50 Mk 14:3-9 Mt 26:6-13 A certain one of the Pharisees asked
that he eat with him. And going into the Pharisee's house, being at
Bethany in the house of Simon the leper as he sat at table, he reclined
in comfort. And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, knowing
that he reclined in the Pharisee's house, came up with an alabaster
flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly. Taking the alabaster vial
of ointment, standing behind him at his feet weeping, and breaking the
flask, she poured it over him reclining, on his head. And she began to
wet his feet with her tears, and she was wiping them with the hair of
her head, and kissing his feet, and anointing them with the ointment.
Upon seeing this, the Pharisee having invited him said to himself, "If
he was a prophet, this one would have known who and what this woman is
who touches him, for she is a sinner." And Jesus answering said to him,
"Simon, I have something to say to you." And he says, "Teacher, say."
"There were two debtors to a certain creditor; one owed five hundred
denarii, and the other fifty. With them not having a thing to repay, he
forgave them both. Now which of them, do you say, will love him more?"
Simon answering, said, "I suppose, to whom more he freely forgave." And
he said to him, "You decided rightly."
Then turning to the woman he said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I
entered your house, you gave me no water for my feet. But she has wet my
feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss,
but since I entered she did not cease to fervently kiss my feet. You did
not anoint my head with oil, but she with ointment anointed my feet. For
this reason I tell you, her many sins are forgiven, for she loved much;
but he loves little to whom little is forgiven."
And he said to her, "Your sins are forgiven." Then those reclining with
him began to say to themselves, "Who is this, who even forgives sins?"
And he said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."
Matthew 26:30-35 Mk 14:26-31 Lk 22:31-34 Having sung a hymn, they went
to the Mount of Olives. Then Jesus said to them, "You will all be
disillusioned because of me this night; for it has been written,
'I will strike the shepherd,
and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.'
But after my rising up, I will go
before you to Galilee."
Replying, Peter said to him, "Though they all be dismayed because of
you, I will never be dismayed." Jesus said to him, "Simon, Simon,
behold, Satan demanded everyone of you, to sift you like wheat,
but I have prayed for you that your faith [πίστις] might not fail; and when
you have turned again, strengthen your brethren." And he said to him,
"Sir, I am prepared to go with you both to prison and to death." He
said, "Truly, I tell you, Peter, that in this night before the cock
crows twice, you will deny three times that you know me." Peter says to
him, "Even if I need to die with you, in no way will I deny you."
Likewise also said all the disciples.
[*] Commentary: In the context of the miracles, a great
mistake is made in understanding what Jesus means when he says, "Because
of your belief...". The efficacy for the result does NOT come from
intense belief in or focused on the development or outcome itself, but
is released from a belief in the mercy and goodness of God. The former
type of belief is little more than Godless magic or futile mind over matter,
and the latter is what is needed to "heal the nations" and bring about
the great resolution.