Faith (Heb. “aman”) means “to be certain, to be assured, to believe in”. It expresses firm conviction based on the reality of what is believed; it’s an informed decision to commit oneself to God. The Hebrew word “batah” has the meaning of “reliance on” with the inner result of a feeling of well-being and security. Another Hebrew word related to trust is “mahseh”, meaning “to seek refuge”. Faith in God, then, is taking the Lord at His word and responding in obedience or acting in accordance with the particular message He has given. In the New Testament, the Greek word “pistis” is translated as “faith or belief” and has various meanings: “to be convinced of”; “to entrust”; “to give credence/mental acceptance to/to believe”; “to commit/entrust oneself to”; “to count on”; “to be fully persuaded/confident”; “a trusting response”; “to rely on”.
Dr. L.O. Richards, Expository Dictionary of Bible Words, pp. 113-122.
Trust is “assured reliance on”; “confident in”; “dependency on”; “committed to” – Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary.
Heb. 11:1 What is faith?
[It’s being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.].
Is this how you think about and respond to God and His Word in general and His promises specifically, and why?
Heb. 11:6 Without what is it impossible to please God?
[“Faith” in Heb. 11:4-40 is the trusting of oneself to God’s message and evidenced in obedient action to it.].
Do you believe that God is everything He says He is in the Bible, and why?
And do you believe that God will reward you for seeking (pursuing a favorable relationship with) Him, and why?
Are you interested in pleasing God?
If so, do you plan to trust Him and what He says, and why?
Heb. 11:2, 39 What did the people during the Old Testament era gain because of their faith in God and what He told them?
Because they gained approval from God due to their faith in God and His word, what did they acquire or become an heir of (Heb. 11:7, 4)?
[“righteousness” – being viewed as right with God].
Rom. 4:3, 5, 21-24; Gen. 15:5-6 Because Abraham believed/trusted in God and what He said, what was reckoned or counted to him (or how was he regarded as) by God?
Because of believing God and what He said, Abraham was regarded as being right with God (righteous). And when God regards a person as positionally right with Him, what can that person expect, Gal. 5:5; Col. 1:5?
[People in the Old Testament were regarded by God as righteous or approved when they believed/had faith/trusted in God and whatever He told them, and as a result would get to go to heaven, Heb. 11:2-35, 16.].
Rom. 4:16 Why is a person reckoned/regarded as righteous (positionally and eternally right with God, Rom. 4:5, 13) by faith?
And why is faith in accordance with grace (Gk. “charizomai” – “that which is given as a free favor”; favor that’s undeserved), Eph. 2:8; Acts 3:16; Rom. 4:4-5; Phil. 1:29?
Did you realize that the faith a person has in God/Jesus and His words is a gift from God/Jesus and, therefore, not deserved/earned or conjured up or produced on his/her own (Acts 13:48; 16:14)?
Acts 26:16-18 What else is true of the person who has faith in Christ (as his/her Savior, Acts 26:18)?
Are you forgiven of all your sins (Col. 2:13-14) and sanctified (set apart for God to go to heaven, 2 Thes. 2:13) because of your faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior?
Jas. 2:14, 17, 24, 26 Because true saving faith is a responding trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior, what kind of faith won’t save a person from going to hell (Jas. 2:14)?
Is your faith in Jesus Christ as Savior merely words you utter, but don’t actually have because there’s no evidence of a true faith by some type of changed life or better actions/works? How did you determine your answer?
[Each time the word “faith” is used in this section of James, it refers to a mere profession of faith. And merely professing/saying you believe in Jesus Christ as Savior won’t save you, but actually trusting in Him as your Savior will (as demonstrated by some change in your life, that is, some obedience to God’s commands, as a response to your trust in Him. This will show you’re a new creature in Christ, 2 Cor. 5:17 and, therefore, saved).].
Heb. 11:27 Because Moses had faith in God and His word (Ex. 3:10; 6:1), what did he do and not fear?
Do you believe God and His words as recorded in the Bible?
If so, how do you show it?
Psa. 9:10 What will those who know God’s name (i.e., God Himself) do?
Do you know God well enough so that you put your complete trust in Him?
If not, what will you start doing now so as to get to know Him well enough to completely trust Him?
Psa. 32:10 What will be true of the person who trusts in the Lord?
Is God’s lovingkindness surrounding you?
If so, how, or if not, what will you do about it?
Psa. 40:4; 84:12 Who is blessed/happy?
Are you happy/blessed and joyful because you have made the Lord your trust (Psa. 21:6-7) rather than egotistical or worldly people being your trust?
And are other people motivated to trust God because you do (as shown by your happy life), Psa. 40:3?
Psa. 22:4-5 Why were the Jewish fathers (ancestral leaders) not disappointed/ashamed?
Just like the Jewish leaders trusted God and His promises (e.g., Num. 13:2; 14:9), are you trusting God and His promises to you in the Bible, so that you’re not disappointed?
Psa. 26:1 How did David trust in the Lord?
Is your trust in the Lord and His Word so confident that you don’t waver in your trust, even when circumstances seem to contradict God’s Word, and why?
Psa. 28:7 What was the result of David trusting in the Lord during some trying circumstances?
Do you find help from the Lord when you trust in Him during difficult situations?
And do you thank Him in song after He does help you through the rough trial?
Psa. 33:18-21 Because those who fear/reverence the Lord trust in His holy name (God Himself), what did they do, Psa. 33:20-21?
Are you patiently waiting for the Lord to come through with some promise of His and, in the meantime, rejoicing in Him because you trust in Him and His word?
Psa. 52:8 What did David trust, and for how long?
How long do you trust in God’s various attributes, and why?
If it’s not always, what can you do so that it is always?
Psa. 56:3-4 What will David do when he’s afraid, so that he won’t be afraid?
What do you do when you’re afraid, and why?
Psa. 62:8 What does David tell the people of Israel?
Do you trust in God at all times and not just when there’s nothing else you can do, and why?
Psa. 86:1-2 Though David was afflicted and needy, what did he do?
What do you do when you’re in great suffering, distress, anguish, or trouble, and needy, and why?
What was David’s prayer to God based on (Psa. 86:5)?
Is this true of you, that you pray and trust God in trying times based on God’s attributes?
Psa. 112:1, 7 What won’t the person who fears the Lord, that is, who greatly delights in His commands and is trusting the Lord, fear?
If you’re trusting in the Lord, do you fear what harm people might do to you, and why?
Psa. 118:6-9; Heb. 13:5-6; Rom. 8:31 Why is it better to trust/take refuge in the Lord than to trust in human resources, like princes, Psa. 118:7?
Because the Lord is for you and your helper, if you are a believer, are you trusting Him rather than people to protect you and to insure that no one prevails or triumphs over you, and why?
Psa. 119:41-42 On what basis did the Psalmist David have an answer (defense) for the person (his enemy) who reproached/discredited him?
When you’re in danger or unfairly accused or discredited by someone, do you trust God’s word/promises to you, such as Rom. 8:28 and Heb. 13:5, and why?
Psa. 125:1 To what are those who trust the Lord compared?
When you trust the Lord regarding some promise or statement in the Bible, does it make you rock-solid in your stand regarding that issue, and why?
Psa. 143:3, 7-8 Why did David want to hear God’s lovingkindness during this time of persecution?
Do you trust in God for encouragement, guidance, and strength during times of persecution? If so, how?
Prov. 3:5 What does Solomon tell his son (Prov. 3:1) to do?
When you encounter difficult times in your life, do you trust in the Lord and His Word, the Bible, with all your heart to give you wisdom (Jas. 1:5) in dealing with the situation, or do you trust in yourself to try and figure things out, and why?
Prov. 22:17-19 Why is it wise to listen to and apply the words of the wise (i.e., biblical truths), Prov. 22:19?
Are you listening to and applying the words of the Bible, so that your trust will be in the Lord as you see how wise He is?
Prov. 28:25 What will happen to the person who trusts in the Lord rather than in riches gained by being arrogant?
Are you trusting in God to take care of you materially (Matt. 6:31, 33; Phil. 4:19; Psa. 34:8-10; Heb. 13:5-6)?
And who is a fool, Prov. 28:26?
Do you trust in your own thoughts and feelings when they conflict with what the Bible teaches on any issue, and why?
Prov. 29:25 What will be true of the person who trusts in the Lord?
Have you found your exaltation/safety/security in trusting the Lord rather than being in compliance to people whom you fear?
2 Ki. 18:3-6 How did King Hezekiah’s trust in (dependency on; commitment to) the Lord express itself?
Do you exhibit your trust in the Lord by keeping His commandments and not departing from following Him?
How does obeying God demonstrate one’s trust in Him?
2 Chron. 14:9-13 What happened because King Asa and his small army of Judah trusted in the Lord?
Do you trust God to give you success/victory in impossible looking situations, and why?
Job 13:15 How was Job’s being the most godly person on earth during his era (Job 1:8) demonstrated?
Could you say this too, that even if God would kill you, you’d still hope in (Heb. “yachal” – “trust”; “wait expectantly on”) God, and why?
Isa. 26:3-4 Why will God keep in perfect peace the steadfast of mind (i.e., unwavering in thinking about God)?
And why should a person trust in the Lord forever?
If you want complete, genuine peace, will you trust in the Lord forever because He’s eternally all-powerful, unchanging, and secure?
Matt. 17:19-20 Why couldn’t some of Jesus’ disciples cast out a demon from a boy?
[“littleness” is a figure of speech called a “meiosis”, an understatement, here meaning, “a lack of faith”.].
[“faith as a mustard seed” – even tiny faith in an all-powerful God can move mountains, assuming it’s God’s will, and that’s why prayer and fasting are implored, so as to seek God’s will in the matter.].
Do you seek God’s will in a matter through prayer and fasting, so that you can have faith that God will come through in that matter?
Mk. 9:23-24 What was the response of the boy’s father to Jesus’ statement?
Do you sometimes struggle with the thought that God can (is able to) do something big for you, but you wonder whether He will actually do it?
How can a person be confident that God actually will do it (1 Jn. 5:14-15)?
Lk. 17:5-6 What did the apostles’ request from Jesus?
Have you ever asked God for this?
How did Jesus respond to the apostles’ request?
[A “mustard seed” is a very tiny seed. So Jesus’ point here is that it’s not so much a matter of how big your faith is as much as it is a matter of placing whatever amount of faith you have in a big God.].
Acts 27:20-25 Why was Paul confident that no one would lose their lives in the storm, Acts 27:25?
When God says something in the Bible, do you believe exactly what it states, and why?
1 Cor. 12:7-9, 11 Why do some Christians have tremendous faith?
Does that mean that the average Christian can’t have a lot of faith in God, and why?
Gal. 3:12 What is not of faith?
[“The Law” refers to all the commandments in the Old Testament, the law of Moses, which includes the 10 commandments, 1 Ki. 2:3; Deut. 4:44-45; 5:1-21; 6:1-2; Jas. 2:10-12. Obedience to the Law, the commandments in the Old Testament, was mechanically performed as good works by the Jews in general, but righteousness/salvation is obtained by faith/trust in what God says and not by doing good works (keeping Old Testament commands, Rom. 9:30-32).].
Are you putting your faith in the gospel to save you (1 Cor. 15:1-4) or in the keeping of commandments, doing good works (Rom. 3:28; Eph. 2:8-9; Titus 3:5; 2 Tim. 1:9), and why?
Eph. 6:16 What will faith in God’s Word, the Bible, do?
Are you using your faith in what God says in the Bible to shield you from the doubts Satan tries to put in your mind about: God not caring for or loving you; God not forgiving you of your sins and giving you eternal life in heaven; God not coming through on His promises in the Bible; the Bible being the Word of God and reliable; not being able to lose your salvation; the Charismatic spiritual gifts no longer existing; or serving God full-time being fulfilling?
1 Thes. 5:8 What should we who are of the day (children of God; Christians) put on?
[The “breastplate” protected the Roman soldier from his neck to his waist, protecting most of his vital organs. Faith in God and His Word will protect you from falling spiritually.].
Since this verse teaches that it’s our responsibility to trust God and His Word, are you so that you don’t take a big spiritual fall?
Jas. 1:2-4 What does the testing of your faith/trust in God produce (if you respond biblically)?
Has your faith in God and His Word ever been tested by a difficult set of circumstances?
If so, how?
How did you respond, and what was the result/outcome of it all, in terms of your character development?
Jas. 1:5-6 How should a Christian ask God for wisdom in dealing with trials in his/her life?
When you ask God to give you wisdom in dealing with some difficult situation in your life, do you believe that God will give you that wisdom, and why?
2 Tim. 1:8-12 Why is Paul not ashamed for suffering from people’s opposition because he preached the gospel?
Does your faith in Christ as Savior, Lord, and Friend keep you from being ashamed when you get opposition from people for your Christian stands or sharing of the gospel?
2 Thes. 1:3-4 Why should Paul and his disciples always give thanks to God for these Thessalonian Christians?
Is your faith/trust in God and His Word consistently and more extensively growing the longer you are a Christian, and why?
1 Jn. 5:4-5 What is the victory that overcomes the world (i.e., the world system and its temptations and pressures)?
Is your faith/trust in Jesus Christ as the Son of God/Savior as expressed in your keeping God’s commands for Christians (in the New Testament epistles) giving you victory over the world’s temptations, pressures, wrong values, and wrong beliefs?
If so, how?