Is Faith a Verb?
I came across a translation of the Bible called the Complete Jewish Bible (CJW). The concept of a Jewish translation intrigued me and so I have spent the last year reading through it and the accompanying commentary. I learned about some of the Jewish traditions that are assumed in the Bible and was reminded of how strongly Christianity is grounded in Judaism.
What I wasn’t expecting was to be challenged in my understanding of faith. I came across familiar verses that were surprisingly different. I started to realize that the word, faith, was not in the verses where I was expecting to find it. After a quick search, I found that the word, faith, only appeared once in the CJW New Testament for every five times that it appeared in the New Testament of the New American Standard Bible.
Consider these three comparisons:
When Jesus woke in the boat to find the disciples crying out “Save us Lord; we are perishing!”, the NASB has Jesus replying “Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?”; however, the CJW has Jesus saying “Why are you afraid. So little trust you have!” (Matt 8:26)
When a woman touches the hem of Jesus’ garment and is healed, Jesus concludes their encounter with “Daughter your faith has made you well; go in peace.” [NASB] In contrast, the CJW has Jesus saying “My daughter, your trust has saved you; go in peace.” (Luke 8:48)
In Ephesians 2:8, Paul writes “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God” [NASB] but compare that translation with “For you have been delivered by grace through trusting, and even this is not your accomplishment but God’s gift.” [CJW]
Words are important. I don’t know if the word, trust, is a better translation than the word, faith, and I am not continuing to read the CJW on a daily basis, even though it has been educational for me to read it through once. Nevertheless, it is worth considering the difference in meaning in each of the comparisons above as you think about your faith and how you trust.
When people walk away from the church, we say they are have lost their faith but we never say they have lost their ability to trust. Such people have chosen to no longer trust for whatever reason. Faith is what we have but trusting is what we do. As a result, if we have faith but don’t trust, what is the point of faith? If we practice trusting, we will be more likely to keep our faith. Are you trusting God today?