What does it mean to exhibit Biblical faith?

The English dictionaries will typically define the word faith with the following types of descriptions:

Faith: confidence or trust in a person or thing; the obligation of loyalty or fidelity. Belief in God.

A complete trust in someone or something that cannot be explicitly proved.

Belief that is not based on proof.

However, as we study the word faith from a Hebrew perspective, an entirely different picture of what it means to have, or live by, faith emerges.

The following description is from the Talmud, Seder Zera’im (Order of Seeds):

The Hebrew word Emunah (faith) has a two-fold connotation — theological and human. It signifies alike faith — trust — in God, and faithfulness — honesty, integrity — in human relations. These two concepts of Emunah do not conflict with each other; on the contrary, they complement and supplement each other. In Judaism, unlike other religions, faith is not some mystic quality charged with supernatural powers capable of winning divine favour and grace. Faith is a dynamic, a motive for faithfulness, and is of value only in so far as it is productive of faithful action; nor is there any faithful action that is not rooted in faith in God. The man of faithfulness is an Ish Emunah, and the man of faith is a Ba’al Emunah (Lord of faith). For it is the man of the highest faith in God who is the man of the greatest faithfulness in his dealings with his fellow man; and it is only the man of faithfulness who can truly be considered a man of faith.

This helps me understand passages like:

Hab 2:4: “Look at the proud! Their spirit is not right in them, but the righteous live by their faith.”

Living “by faith” now becomes the evidence of righteous actions in the lives of true believers.

2 Cor 5:7: “for we walk by faith, not by sight.”

Walking “by faith” means we don’t need to see the tangible results of our faithful actions, because they are right and the evidence speaks for itself.

James 2:18: “But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith.”

This classic verse in James (Ya’acov) sums up the life lived in faith. A faithful life can’t be hidden.

This reminds me of another verse from the Messiah himself:

Mt 5:14: ““You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid.”

May our lives shine in this way to light the way for others when we live by our faith!

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