The ‘pistis/faith’ word group has several variations formed from the pist— root. Much akin to a family, it’s roots and offsprings can go in varied and different directions. Such is the case with John’s Gospel. The word used from this word group in John is a vital and a most critical part of his message. With more than 90 occurrences of this word in John’s Gospel, 99.9% of them are translated ‘believe’ in English versions of Bible. Still again, a separate and completely different word form of the pist— root is used one time in John and is the only time that we see it translated using a form of the word ‘faith’: “Then he said to Thomas, Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing.” (John 20:27) I am very deliberately not identifying these words here in this space because of the time required to examine them as well as the direction that it would take us. John’s word translated ‘believe’ follows our completed course of study on ‘pistis/faith’ as it will begin the study anew, for this word is also found in all three Synoptic Gospels. To remain on task we note, again, that there are no uses of ‘pistis/faith’ in John’s Gospel; but for the numerous translated usage of “believe” which we reserve for another study.
The Acts of The Apostles takes us to the historical beginnings of Church history. This ‘Apostolic Age’ is marked by the crucifixion death of Jesus of Nazareth— resurrected with appearances to several persons. This ‘Age’ is marked by an ending of ‘Disciples(ship)’ for those who had ‘followed him’ in his earthly ministry, to a movement towards ‘Apostleship’— now is the time to be ‘sent out’ to preach, to teach and to have authority over unclean spirits as He had taught. ‘The Pentecost’ event in Acts is perhaps the single most important event in the Church’s history marking the ‘receiving of The Holy Spirit’.
There is always a dualism in understanding many things Church. While this in-depth study of faith would direct us to understanding ‘Pentecost’ as the single most important event in the history of the Church: where Jesus, the Man of God died by Crucifixion, a death so powerful that it could shift his disciples to building Church; The Church has shifted the foundation to ‘Easter’… the Resurrection Event as the most important event in the modern Church. I am contending that there must be a very vital and living reconciliation made by the Church in the power and meaning of these two events for the everlasting life of the People of God.
‘Pistis/faith’ first occurs in the 3rd chapter of Acts (3:11-16) where Peter addressed the people concerning he and John’s healing miracle, and is written twice in the one verse— 3:16. “…Men of Israel, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we had made him walk? …And his name, by faith in his name, has made this man strong whom you see and know; and the faith which is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all.”
It is interesting to note that in this first occurrence of ‘pistis/faith’ in Acts, ‘the movement’ is still wholely and fully a part of Judaism. On this occasion, Peter and John were going up to the Temple at the hour of prayer. This man, crippled from birth, was laid there daily at Temple Gate Beautiful to beg for alms. Peter said to him, “I have no silver or gold.” But what I do have is ‘the power of the Holy Spirit’ (the movement’s ONLY Resource!). And, “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth…”
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