Faith & related words in ActsVolume 4, Number 1
Created Date: October 17, 2015
Posted Date: October 17, 2015
Faith in the Book of Acts:
Having completed our study in the Gospels we move on to the book of Acts, studying the words regarding faith and believe that appear therein:
1. The Greek word Pistis, usually, but not always translated “faith,” found 16 times in Acts (244 total in NT, Smith’s Greek-English Concordance # 4002.)
2. The Greek Pistos, usually, but not always translated “faithful,” found 4 times in Acts (66 total in NT, Smith’s # 4003.)
3. The Greek Pisteuo, unusually, but not always translated “believe,” found 39 times in Acts (248 total in the NT, Smith’s # 4000.)
4. Oligopistos is always translated “of little faith,” and is only found in Matthew and Luke where it is used 5 times (Smith’s # 3540)
5. The Greek Apisteo, always translated “believe not,” found one time in Acts (7 total in the NT, Smith’s # 569.)
6. The Greek Apistia is always translated “unbelief,” found 12 times in the NT but never in Acts (Smith’s # 570.)
7. Apistos, translated “that believe not,” unbelieving, unbeliever, faithless, infidel, etc., found one time in Acts (23 total in NT, Smith’s # 571.)
Faith: many times the first occasion a word is used in Scripture gives insight into the book in which it occurs as it introduces a concept or the line of thought. This appears to be the case with the word “faith,” which occurs twice in the first verse in which it appears in Acts: “And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all,”.
The man made strong or given “perfect soundness,” i.e., healed, had been lame from birth and was carried every day to the Temple where he sat at the gate called “Beautiful,” begging for a living from those entering the Temple,. The Apostles Peter and John came to the Temple at the hour of prayer, 3:00 PM, and as they were about to enter the lame man asked for money, . Peter and John looked at him and Peter told him to look at them. The man did so, expecting a gift from them, . Peter told him he didn’t have any silver or gold but he would give him that which he had and with that told him “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and anklebones received strength,” b - 7. When you think about it, the man’s muscles had to have been terribly atrophied since they had never been used. That, and the fact he had never learned to walk meant he would normally have required physical therapy to learn to do so. However, he not only walked, but leaped up and walked into the Temple, leaping and praising God, .
The people in the Temple were amazed to see the man they knew as the lame beggar who sat at the Gate Beautiful for many years now walking around and praising God. The formerly lame man grabbed hold of Peter and John on Solomon’s porch and the people ran and gathered around the three of them,-11. Peter asked the crowd why they marveled at this, looking at he and John as if it was by their own power or holiness he was healed, . Peter explained that the God of Israel’s Patriarchs had glorified His own Son Jesus, the Holy and Just One who they had delivered up to Pilot to be crucified, desiring instead a murderer to be set free. Peter told them they had thus killed the Prince of Life Who God subsequently raised from the dead, as witnessed by Peter and John, . Then Peter explained it was “His name through faith in his name,” Acts 3:16a, that the man was healed, which harks back to what he told the lame man; “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk,” Acts 3:6b. Thus, the phrase “His name through faith in his name,” Acts 3:16a, indicates Peter was saying the man was healed by the faith that resides upon Jesus’ Name. In the next phrase of this verse he clarifies or expands on this, “yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all,” Acts 3:16b, that is, the faith which was by Jesus of Nazareth gave the lame man this perfect soundness.
“The faith” in the last phrase of verse 16 is that which proceeds out of the Name of Jesus and was what healed the man. It didn’t have anything to do with the lame man’s faith; there is nothing in the passage about the lame man asking to be healed or believing or having faith he could be healed, - or even recognizing Peter and John as Apostles of Jesus Christ. There is nothing to indicate he had any faith in anything. He was simply at his business of begging when he looked to Peter and John for a handout. There is nothing to indicate he had any expectation or idea he could be healed when Peter lifted him by the hand and told him to rise up and walk “in the Name of Jesus of Nazareth,” Acts 3:6b.
Was Peter’s faith involved in any of this? Of course it was. Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God,, and Peter was acting by faith in that he believed what Jesus, the Word of God, told he and the other 10 apostles just before He ascended into heaven: “... Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name (that is Jesus’ name) shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” . The lame man was healed in the name of Jesus of Nazareth, Acts 3:6b - 7. This healing is totally contrary to the scenario some preachers and churches present today, i.e., that one must have enough faith, in and of oneself, in order to expect healing. The Word of God does not promise this type of healing to members of the Church, the Body of Christ today. However, healing as exhibited in Acts 3 will exist again when Christ returns and rules as King of Israel.
In order to put this incident in context we must back up and note what happened after Jesus ascended into heaven. Just as He promised,, He sent the Holy Spirit Who controlled the Jewish Apostles and their Jewish followers at Pentecost. “The Faith,” Acts 3:16, was what Jesus accomplished with His Life, Death and Resurrection, and has been made available to those who believe. Jesus was the author and finisher of faith, a, the Greek word translated “finisher” means “completer” or “consummator.” And He, “who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God,” Hebrews 12b. The Greek translated “despising” means “to think against” or “disesteem.” That is, He had low regard for the disgrace/shame of the cross and was subsequently seated at the right hand of the throne of God. This means He was given, and has, all the Glory and Power of God Himself. Thus, in Acts 3:16 we find the first mention in the New Testament of “The Faith,” that which Jesus had finished, completed, or consummated.
Back in the Gospel records where we observed many who requested healing from Jesus, that is, they came to Him with faith that He could do so. However, that is not the case with this lame man, he was just trying to make a living and happened to hit on Peter and John. This is the first occasion God’s Word documents a specific man being healed by one of the Apostles after Jesus Christ ascended into heaven. (indicates many wonders and signs were done by the Apostles but those wonders and signs are not specified, The Holy Spirit uses this incident involving the lame man to introduce “The Faith.”)
The Greek name of the gate at which the lame man begged is “horaios,” translated “Beautiful,” which means literally “belonging to the right hour or season (timely) that is (by implication) flourishing (beauteous) or figuratively - beautiful.” And thus, as the name implies, it was the right time for Israel, it was the beautiful time when things would flourish; Israel was being offered the Kingdom on earth that had been promised to their Fathers,. The offer of that Kingdom was evidenced by miracles and signs foretold in Old Testament prophesy. Many Jews from all over the known world had come to Jerusalem for Pentecost and those among them who believed Jesus Christ was their Messiah had gathered together. Even though they spoke different languages, they miraculously understood each other perfectly, . These things were foretold by the Prophet Joel to occur in the last days, i.e., the time of the Kingdom of God, . That group of Jewish believers responded by selling all they had and sharing the resulting pool of goods with the other believers, . The healing of the lame man in chapter 3 was another sign that the right time, that is, the beautiful time had arrived for Israel.
However, Israel ultimately blew it. The leaders of Israel and the majority of the people did not believe and so the Kingdom was put on hold until some future date as explained in Romans 9 - 11. But God planned for this contingency. He had a secret purpose in mind, never before revealed until He revealed His “Secret,” or as it is translated “mystery,” to the Apostle Paul,. This Secret is the Age of Grace in which we live now, where both Jew and Gentile believers are members of the Body of Christ, Ephesians 2:11 - 3:12; 4:12; , 25 - 27, with a Heavenly calling, ; 2:6; , not the Kingdom of God on earth, which Israel will finally enjoy some day in the future.