What Is Faith?

Many people think faith is an irrational acceptance of claims made without evidence. True faith, however, is based on a logical, reasonable persuasion. The Apostle Paul wrote, “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day” (2 Timothy 1:12, KJV; emphasis added). Paul did not simply say that he believes Christianity is true, or even that he is certain of its truth. Rather, he says that he has been persuaded. He has seen that the Gospel is true. Paul had first-hand experience proving Christianity because of his encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus, but he was not the only first-century Christian with compelling evidence for the Gospel. Luke wrote that Jesus “shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs” (Acts 1:3, KJV); first-century believers did not accept Christ blindly, but based their faith on a multitude of eyewitness accounts. Even today, there is much historical evidence confirming the resurrection of Christ, which is the central claim of Christianity. Faith is not an unthinking acceptance of baseless beliefs; rather, it is a rational trust in proven teachings.

Although true faith is built on a rational foundation, it leads to conclusions that we could not reach by reason alone. The author of the book of Hebrews wrote, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen... Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” (Hebrews 11:1, 3, KJV). We can see by historical evidence that Christ rose from the dead, and because this seemingly impossible claim is true, we can have faith that the other teachings of Christianity are also true. Today, we can understand, based on the laws of thermodynamics and the principle of causality, that the universe must have come from an outside entity, but when the book of Hebrews was written, long before these scientific principles were discovered, faith was the only way to know “that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” Even today, we must accept by faith that it was “by the word of God,” rather than some other supernatural cause, that the universe was created; however, it is reasonable to accept this teaching because it comes from a source that is historically and scientifically corroborated. Faith allows us to have rational confidence in the truth of God's Word.

What Is Faith? © 2024 by Samuel Sloniker is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International