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The Difference Between Faith and Belief

In the Old Testament we find the word “aman” often translated “to believe.” Genesis 15:6 says, “And Abram believed in the Lord; and He counted it to him for righteousness.” The Orthodox Jewish Bible says, “And he believed in the Lord; and He credited (faith) to him as righteousness.” The impression we are given here is that Abraham was full of trust and confidence in God first, and thereafter, he was credited with faith. To be specific, he believed in God first and then was credited with faith.

Also, it was not primarily in God’s words that Abram believed, but rather, in God Himself. This verse does not imply that Abram “believed God,” accepting that what He had said was true and trustworthy (as in Genesis 45:26). It simply states that Abram believed in God! In other words, Abram came to experience a personal relationship with God rather than an impersonal relationship with His promises. Hence, whoever comes to God “must believe that He is” - must have experienced a ‘personal relationship’ with God. From this we can see that, “believing” is very personal. It has to do with an intimate relationship between the person “believing” and the one to whom the belief is being directed. In this context, believing precedes faith because it has to do with relationship.


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Chris Demetriou, 02/09/2012

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