Hidden Treasures: New Testament Word Studies–BY FAITH

Bench above Gimmelwald, in Bernese Oberland of Swiss Alps. Photo by Thomas Robinson. See https://www.zoomdak.com/

Our “hidden treasure” this week is the phrase, “by faith.” In Greek, “by faith” is a single word: Πίστει, Pistei. The Greek noun πίστις, pistis, means putting the trust of our life in someone or something. In the Bible, we are invited to put our trust in God through Jesus Christ. “Faith” is used over 500 times in the Bible, 39 times in the Book of Hebrews. The phrase, ” by faith,” represented in the original language, Greek by the single word pistei, is found in the Book of Hebrews 22 times, more than any other book in the Bible.

What does “by faith” really mean? I like to think of faith as a the lens in a pair of glasses. Only by looking through the lens of faith are we able to see clearly. We can hold a pair of glasses in our hands, or store them in our purse, and they do us no good. Only when we put them on our face, open our eyes and look through the lens of faith are we able to see “by faith.”

Another way of understanding “by faith” may be seen in the photo above, in which we see a bench and in the background, a beautiful mountain scene in the Swiss Alps. Imagine walking up to this bench with blindfolds on. Someone you trust is leading you. They tell you to sit down. You sit down, hoping there is a chair or bench to hold you. Your backside lands on a sturdy wooden bench. Then, that person you trust removes the blindfold, and from that stable and secure place to sit, you look up and see a scene of extravagant beauty. “By faith,” we put our trust in God like sitting down on a study bench. We trust that God can hold the weight of our lives. We trust God’s character as steady, sturdy, reliable.

Once we’ve rested the trust of our lives in God, we remove the blinders from our eyes, and our eyes, our minds, our inner being is for the first time truly able to take in the extravagant beauty of life before us.

Here are the references of living “by faith” from Hebrews 11:

  1. Hebrews 11:3 By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.
  2. Hebrews 11:4 It was by faith that Abel brought a more acceptable offering to God than Cain did. Abel’s offering gave evidence that he was a righteous man, and God showed his approval of his gifts. Although Abel is long dead, he still speaks to us by his example of faith.
  3. Hebrews 11:5 It was by faith that Enoch was taken up to heaven without dying—“he disappeared, because God took him.” For before he was taken up, he was known as a person who pleased God.
  4. Hebrews 11:7 It was by faith that Noah built a large boat to save his family from the flood. He obeyed God, who warned him about things that had never happened before. By his faith Noah condemned the rest of the world, and he received the righteousness that comes by faith.
  5. Hebrews 11:8 It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going.
  6. Hebrews 11:9And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith—for he was like a foreigner, living in tents. And so did Isaac and Jacob, who inherited the same promise.
  7. Hebrews 11:11 It was by faith that even Sarah was able to have a child, though she was barren and was too old. She believed that God would keep his promise.
  8. Hebrews 11:17It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him. Abraham, who had received God’s promises, was ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac.
  9. Hebrews 11:20 It was by faith that Isaac promised blessings for the future to his sons, Jacob and Esau.
  10. Hebrews 11:21 It was by faith that Jacob, when he was old and dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons and bowed in worship as he leaned on his staff.
  11. Hebrews 11:22 It was by faith that Joseph, when he was about to die, said confidently that the people of Israel would leave Egypt. He even commanded them to take his bones with them when they left.
  12. Hebrews 11:23 It was by faith that Moses’ parents hid him for three months when he was born. They saw that God had given them an unusual child, and they were not afraid to disobey the king’s command.
  13. Hebrews 11:24 It was by faith that Moses, when he grew up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.
  14. Hebrews 11:27 It was by faith that Moses left the land of Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger. He kept right on going because he kept his eyes on the one who is invisible.
  15. Hebrews 11:28 It was by faith that Moses commanded the people of Israel to keep the Passover and to sprinkle blood on the doorposts so that the angel of death would not kill their firstborn sons.
  16. Hebrews 11:29 It was by faith that the people of Israel went right through the Red Sea as though they were on dry ground. But when the Egyptians tried to follow, they were all drowned.
  17. Hebrews 11:30 It was by faith that the people of Israel marched around Jericho for seven days, and the walls came crashing down.
  18. Hebrews 11:31 It was by faith that Rahab the prostitute was not destroyed with the people in her city who refused to obey God. For she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.
  19. Hebrews 11:33 By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them.

Are you currently living “by faith?”

Who are you “by faith” heroes?

Who exemplified living “by faith” most in your life?

Who helped guide you into a life of “faith”?

If you have yet to trust your life to God, what obstacles get in the way of taking a step of living “by faith” in God?

When you consider the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, how does his life help you live “by faith”?

Which of the great heroes of faith in the Bible, including the more than a dozen Old Testament heroes, most inspire you to live “by faith”?

Finally, who looks up to you to see if you are living “by faith”? To whom are you an example of living “by faith”?