3/24/2009

Faith as Loyalty and Loyal-Acknowledgment


An Ongoing Consideration
I continue my consideration of biblical Faith as Loyalty and Loyal-Acknowledgment with 2 items: First I quote a few lines of a relatively well informed dictionary entry which could do more to work around “belief” and “trust,” but which also allows for “loyalty”. Second I talk about about "shrinking back" or "severing from the object of loyalty" which has been interpreted and translated in a couple of NT passages as “doubt” in contrast to "faith".

1) Faith- Belief, trust, and loyalty to a person or thing. Christians find their security and hope in God as revealed in Jesus Christ, and say "amen" to that unique relationship to God in the Holy Spirit through love and obedience as expressed in lives of discipleship and service.
You can read the whole article here Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology
2) One apparent difficulty with our consistent use of “loyalty” is when it seems to be set against “doubt” in a couple of passages.
Mat 21:21 And Jesus answered and said to them, "Truly I say to you, if you have faith/loyalty and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea,' it will happen.
Mat 21:22 "And all things you ask in prayer, believing/being loyal, you will receive."

However doubt, or Διακρίνω (diakrinō , dee-ak-ree'-no), would be more clearly understood if translated with the more literal “separate thoroughly” or “withdraw” or even by implication “oppose”.
Strong’s definition: From G1223 and G2919; to separate thoroughly, that is, (literally and reflexively) to withdraw from, or (by implication) oppose; figuratively to discriminate (by implication decide), or (reflexively) hesitate: - contend, make (to) differ (-ence), discern, doubt, judge, be partial, stagger, waver.

Replacing the figurative “doubt” with a more literal translation of diakrino such as “separate” or “withdraw” or even “oppose” is actually to be preferred when “loyalty” or “loyal-acknowledgment” is understood.

Mat 21:21 And Jesus answered and said to them, "Truly I say to you, if you have loyalty and do not withdraw, [or separate from the object of your loyalty] you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea,' it will happen.
Mat 21:22 "And all things you ask in prayer, being loyal, you will receive."

In my next entry on this subject I should include some interesting observations about the LXX version of the Old Testament.

2 comments:

  1. "two phones"Sunday, April 12, 2009

    "Do not be afraid, only believe."
    Mark 6:36 (Jesus' words to Jairus, who just lost his daughter).

    Any thoughts on the contrast of "being afraid" and "believing"?

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  2. perhaps it would be natural even without our bias of habit to set "trust" here along with "do not fear". But I am not sure this fit necessitates this meaning. I would note that Jairus had sought Jesus out acknowledging Jesus as one who could heal his daughter. To fear now, at the point of hearing his daughter had died, would be to think he had sought Jesus out in vain. so "do not fear but be loyal", or "do not fear but continue in loyal acknowledgement" would both make as much sense as trust. Also "fear" in this passage is not necessarily contrasted with its opposite, but rather it is displaced by something. Your daughter has died why trouble the teacher any more?...."Do not fear(that your daughter is gone), only loyally acknowledge (me as able to rescue her from sickness and even death).

    Anyway, two-phone, those are a few thoughts. Thanks for your question.
    Jeff

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