In the Word of God, Abraham is
called "the father of all that believe." The Greek word translated
faith is "pistis" which means belief. To believe is to have
confidence and trust in that which you have heard to the end that you act
upon it. God promised Abraham that he would be the father of many
nations. Abraham could believe the words God spoke or he could reject
them. Abraham was fully persuaded that God would fulfil His promise.
That is "pistis" - belief. Having heard the Word of God you
are confident that it is true and you believe it.
The opposite of "pistis" is "apistia" which means unbelief. If, when you hear God's Word, you reject it without action you are demonstrating "apistia" - unbelief. Following are some examples:
And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works?
Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?
And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?
And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house.
And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief[apistia].
Jesus Christ was not able to do many mighty works in his own country because the people rejected the Word of God he taught. They looked at his family and were offended in him. They did not believe that his words could be true. They did not have trust or confidence in what Jesus said, therefore they did not believe him.
The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe[pisteuo].
And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.
Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless[apistos], but believing[pistos].
And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.
Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed[pisteuo]: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed[pisteuo].
And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:
But these are written, that ye might believe[pisteuo] that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing[pisteuo] ye might have life through his name.
Thomas did not believe the words
he had heard about the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Once he saw
the proof with his own eyes he believed. But, you do not have to
see in order to believe. If you have confidence and trust in the
Word of God presented to you, you can believe it. As you act upon
your belief you will see the proof. Believing is having confidence
in the words you have heard whether you have seen or not seen the results.
The Word of God as recorded here in John was written so that we might believe
that Jesus is the Christ and that we might receive eternal life.
For as ye[Gentiles] in times past have not believed[apeitheo] God, yet have now obtained mercy through their[Judeans]unbelief[apeithia]:
Even so have these[Judeans] also now not believed[apeitheo], that through your[Gentiles] mercy they also may obtain mercy.
For God hath concluded them all in unbelief[apeithia], that he might have mercy upon all.
In these verses the Greek word translated unbelief is the word "apeithia." Apeithia is different than apistia. Apeithia is more often translated as disobedience! When you have known God's Word and experienced the truth of it; when you have seen that it works and have confidence and trust in it, and yet you refuse to believe and even do the opposite you are demonstrating apeithia. To know God's Word and openly do contrary to it is to be disobedient.
1 Timothy 1:12-13
And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;
Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief[apistia].
Paul persecuted the church "ignorantly" in apistia unbelief. He had not heard enough to believe; nor had he experienced the truth of the Word of God regarding Jesus Christ. When presented with the truth - he believed.
Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?
I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.
Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them.
And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities.
Whereupon as I went to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests,
At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me.
And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.
But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee;
Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee,
To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient[apeithes] unto the heavenly vision:
But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.
When the Word of God was presented to Paul by the Lord Jesus Christ, his first response was "Who art thou? Lord? He did not know the truth of the Word of God regarding Jesus Christ. Once he learned it, he was not disobedient. He acted with belief upon that which he heard.
And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,
Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.
And some of them believed[peitho], and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few.
But the Jews which believed not[apeitheo], moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people.
In these verses the Greek word for believed is peitho which is to be persuaded by the truth of that which you have heard and act positively upon it. Those who heard the Word of God in this record and rejected it did more than just "not believe." They were not persuaded by the Word of God and they took action against the Word spoken. That is disobedience.
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed[hupakouo], not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
The Greek word for obey is hupakouo which means to put yourself under that which you have heard. Our example is the Lord Jesus Christ who was obedient to God's Word even unto death.
For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
Adam knew God's Word by experience yet chose to disobey and do contrary to that Word. Jesus Christ on the other hand, knew God's Word by experience and chose to obey even in the face of death. That is true believing and obedience. That is why he is our saviour and our example.
And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient[hupakouo] to the faith[pistis].
When the word of God is presented this is the response
we want. We put ourselves under that which we have heard regarding
"the belief": that Jesus Christ is Lord and that God has raised him from